A new survey of high school students indicated that roughly 75 percent don’t drink alcohol. But who’s expecting teens to be honest in these surveys?
According to Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD), nearly 700 students across the nation were surveyed during Red Ribbon Week. The reasoning for not drinking varied from it being illegal, the effects it has on their health, the effects is has on their grades and the disapproval from their parents.
The truth of the matter here is that there were close to 10,000 traffic accident fatalities in 2011 in the U.S. involving a driver with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), these accident fatalities accounted for more than 30 percent of all traffic deaths recorded that year year. Drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 accounted for close to 1,000 of the drivers involved in these accidents. That’s 20 percent of all drunk drivers involved drunk driving accidents in Tuscaloosa and elsewhere.
In addition to these statistics, more than half of the students who were surveyed said that they were less likely to hang out with friends, or even date someone who drinks underage.
As adults, we know how dangerous underage drinking is for our children. Officials with MADD have worked tirelessly to combat the dangers, yet we know that there are still thousands of teens dying each and every year in drunk driving accidents. Overall, more than 4,500 teens are killed each year because of underage drinking and driving.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH), close to 10.5 million young people between ages 12 and 20 drank more than “just a few sips” of alcohol. As kids get older, they drink more. By age 15, half of teens have had at least one drink. By age 18, more than 70 percent of teens have had at least one drink.
For young drivers (15 to 20 years old), alcohol involvement is higher among males than among females. In 2009, 27 percent of the young male drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking at the time of the crash, compared with 15 percent of the young female drivers involved in fatal crashes, according to the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS).
Despite declines in the number of young people involved in drunk driving fatalities, on average, more than 3 people under the age of 21 die each day in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, according to The Century Council.
Don’t allow statistics to lull you into a false sense of security. We’re aware that underage drinking and underage drunk driving car accidents remain a significant risk. We’re asking parents and guardians to have the talk with the teen drivers in their family. Talking with your teen about the risks of alcohol on our roadways could help to prevent a potentially fatal accident.
Drunk Driving Accidents Increase With Game Day Tailgating, Alabama Injury Attorneys Blog, September 18, 2013
Root for the Home Team Responsibly – Reduce Risks of Drunk Driving Accidents in Alabama, Alabama Injury Attorneys Blog, September 14, 2012