Each year, millions of people in the U.S. choose to drink alcohol and then drive a car. These people might think they’re “sober enough” or they might try to rationalize their behavior by saying It’s not a very far drive, just around the block. Although attitudes toward drunk driving have drastically changed since the previous decade, people are still driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, many of these people are only just teenagers. While the teen DUI rates has declined over the years, it is still a relevant problem in our society. Many organizations, like Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD), still campaign against drunk driving while funding ongoing studies on the issue.
Teen drunk driving rates have gone down over the years according to an article posted on CNN’s website. The article cited a 2011 CDC survey, which reported that 90% of high school students 16 and older said they have never driven a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. In 1991, more than 78% of teenagers admitted to driving under the influence. An October 2012 CDC Fact Sheet also mentioned that teen drivers were more likely to underestimate dangerous situations or fail to recognize hazards, leading to more accidents. This can lead to the disastrous combination of teens driving under the influence while not wearing their seat belts. The fact sheet cited studies which found 22% of drivers (15-20 years old) involved in a fatal car accident were drinking alcohol. 56% of drivers (15-20 years old) killed in car accidents involving alcohol were not wearing seat belts.
Although most teens are new to driving, they are more willing to assume risks in the form of drinking and driving or in not wearing a seat belt. The dangerous combination of reckless driving, not wearing a seat belt, and drinking alcohol can easily lead to death. Changing attitudes, more awareness, and parental vigilance against teen drinking will continue to decrease the rate of teenager DUIs. If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol, please feel free to call us anytime at Inspirations for Youth and Families.