Drunk Driving Serious Risk to Teen Drivers

Teaching Teenagers to Avoid the Dangers of Intoxicated Driving on Prom Night 

As prom nights approach in high schools across the country, many cities are taking steps to demonstrate the dangers of drunk driving to high school teens. According to a recent report from ABC News, one high school recently staged a drunk driving event “to demonstrate the dangers of driving drunk or riding with someone who was drinking.” The event was staged as prom night approaches, which the report describes as “the perfect time for students to be reminded that the decisions they make on prom night could be permanent.”

Students know in advance that such events are staged, yet witnessing even a staged event can help show high school teens the serious repercussions of intoxicated driving. The organization Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) organizes many of these events. The SADD website explains that SADD works with local police and fire departments to organize “a mock crash for juniors and seniors during prom season.”

What is involved in mock DUI crashes? They are designed to look largely like a real accident scene. In other words, students will be at the school when they hear the sounds of a devastating car crash, followed by the noises of emergency sirens. Often, the “victim” will be played by a real high school student in prom attire. The “victim” in the scenario is another classmate of the teens, who must witness the scene of the crash. Students report that they experience what they believe to be real emotions after they learn that their fellow classmate and friend was killed in a crash caused by another teen driver’s decision to drink and drive. High school students who participate in mock crashes recognize that members of SADD and the local police departments and fire departments go to great lengths to make the scene of the accident as real as possible.

Getting the Facts About Teen Drinking and Driving 

According to an article in U.S. News & World Report, only about 6% of all teen drivers admit to driving under the influence of alcohol, yet around 90% of teens believe that their peers likely would drive while intoxicated after prom. As that article suggests, teens’ assumptions about the likelihood of their peers driving drunk could lead more high school drivers to do the same. What facts should you know about teen drinking and driving?

According to a fact sheet from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following statistics highlight the seriousness of teen drinking and driving:

  • About one out of every 10 high school teenagers drinks and drives;
  • Younger drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 are 17 times more likely to die in a car accident involving a BAC over the legal limit of 0.08%;
  • The Rate of teen drinking and driving has decreased by about 54% since 1991, yet almost one million teens still engaged in intoxicated driving in 2011;
  • On average, high school teenagers drive after drinking alcohol (any amount) around 2.4 million times each month; and
  • About 20% of teens involved in fatal car accidents have alcohol in their systems.

Please talk to your teen about drinking and driving!! Make sure he or she never gets into a car with a drunk driver and never gets behind the wheel after drinking even the smallest amount. If you or your child was injured as a result of an accident caused by a drunk driver, contact an experienced car accident attorney for help.

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