Drinking and driving is a serious problem, and while the percentage of teens in high school who drove drunk has decreased since the early 1990s, there is more that can be done to lower this percentage even further. Research has proven that teenage drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash, than experienced drivers. As with people of any age, drinking alcohol greatly increases the risk of accidents for teens involved in drinking and driving. It has been shown that there are factors that can help keep teens safe from drunk driving and these include zero tolerance laws, parental involvement, enforcement of legal drinking age, and graduated drivers license systems.
Fewer teens are reported to be drinking and driving but nonetheless, it is risky behavior that is still a major threat to the health and safety of young people. Some of the statistics regarding teen drinking and driving are downright frightening. For instance, one in five teenage drivers that were involved in a fatal crash had at least some alcohol in their system, according to research conducted in 2010.
How to Prevent Teen Drinking and Driving
Just telling your teen not to drink and drive may not be sufficient in deterring them from making a potentially deadly mistake or one that has them facing criminal charges. Knowing what works when it comes to preventing teen drinking and driving can mean the difference between life and death.
It has been shown by research that enforcement of minimum legal drinking age laws has reduced the number of alcohol sales to those, not of legal drinking age. Alcohol retailer compliance checks play a big part in this.
Zero tolerance laws have been enacted in all states that make it illegal for anyone under the legal drinking age to drive after consuming any amount of alcohol. Research has shown that these laws have worked in reducing the number of crashes involving teens under the influence of alcohol.
Parents being involved in their teen’s lives has also been proven to be a deterrent in teen drinking and driving. Parents should be restricting and monitoring what new drivers are doing. When parents establish firm rules for driving, new drivers report decreased rates of traffic violations, risky driving, and crashes.
Graduated driver licensing systems have also been put into place to assist new drivers in gaining experience under less risky circumstances. As a teen moves through the graduated license stages, they begin to gain more privileges, such as driving with passengers or driving at night. Every state has graduated driver licensing laws but the specific laws do vary by state.
What Can Be Done About Teen Drinking and Driving
There are lots that can be done to further decrease teen drinking and driving incidents. Increased education and awareness among teens and their parents are important. Parents can take the time to educate themselves on all the dangers of teen drinking and driving, and have open, ongoing discussions with their teens about the real dangers of drinking and driving. The CDC actually offers a parent and teen driving agreement and provides information on safe teen driving. With the proper education and awareness, drunk driving among teens can hopefully become a nonexistent issue.
A list of pages with additional information on teen drinking and driving can be found below.
- Teen Drinking and Driving: A Dangerous Mix
- Underage Drinking Statistics From Mothers Against Drunk Driving
- Teen Driving Crash and Fatality Statistics
- Teenage Drunk Driving Facts: The Sad Truth
- Eleven Facts About Driving Under the Influence
- Resources for Teen Drivers on Driving Safely
- 10 Commandments of Preventing Teen Drunk Driving
- International Drunk Driving Prevention Association – Organizations
- Save Driving Tips for Teenage Drivers
- National Teen Driver Safety Week
- Underage Drinking: Why Do Adolescents Drink, What Are The Risk, And How To Prevent
- Fact Sheets: The Consequences of Underage Drinking