Here’s What You Need To Know About Teen Drinking And Driving

Every year, drivers who have been drinking alcohol are in about one-third of each of our country’s deadly car crashes.

That’s why it’s essential for us parents to talk to our teens about drinking and driving, especially since December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. Teen drivers already are three times as likely to get involved with a crash since they are new to the roads. Not just is it illegal for teens to drink alcohol, but it adds to their already high crash risk.


Here are some things to know about teen drinking and driving:

Adults drive and drink more than teens do. If they drink, even if they don’t have very much, but teens have a higher potential for crashing.

More young drivers are drinking now. In 2008, 38 percent of your young drivers who were in deadly crashes were drinking. In 2011, the amount rose to 41 percent.

24 percent of teen passengers say they have ridden with a teen driver who had been drinking

Teens likely will share the highway with drivers who have been drinking. That’s why it’s good to train teens the best way to scan the roads for hazards and respond after they see one. Drivers that have been drinking may do crazy things. The rest of us need to be careful.

Usually when we consider impaired drivers, we think about drivers who use drugs and alcohol. But distracted drivers also are impaired. Did you know that a study from the University of Utah found out that drivers talking on mobile phones had more trouble reacting fast and hitting the brakes than drivers who were legally drunk? Now, drunk driving is incredibly dangerous. The research just shows how much talking on cell phones can affect drivers.

Do you know why using a cellular phone while driving is dangerous?

Drivers using cell phones – handheld or hands-free – are 4x as likely to get into an accident

Just because you have both hands about the wheel doesn’t mean it’s safe to use your cell phone. It doesn’t matter where a driver’s hands are. What matters is what the motorist is thinking about. It takes a great deal of thinking to operate a car safely, and we can’t think clearly about a couple of things at the same time. Our brains won’t we will. That’s why drivers who are talking on cell phones can’t focus on the road very well.

You may already spoke with your teen driver about drinking, using drugs, texting and talking on a cellular phone. How did the conversation go? What advice are you experiencing for other parents who are teaching their teens to get?

Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, National Safety Council, University of Utah, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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