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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Teen Drinking and Driving Stats Down, BUT Related Stats Are "Sobering"

Parents of teenagers have many concerns...

The parent of a teenager worries about many teen behaviors and the effect these behaviors can have on their teen's life. Parents worry about their teen doing well in high school, they worry about their teen performing well enough on the SAT test to be accepted to college, they worry about their teen's after school activities, they worry about who their teen chooses to be friends with, they worry about who their teen dates, they worry about instilling good morals and a good work ethic. And on the day their teenager passes their driving test and receives their first driver's license the game changes...then every time their teenager ventures out in the family car the typical parent says a silent prayer and hopes their teenager returns home safely without having inflicted injury to themselves or others.

CDC teen drinking and driving statistics validate parents' concerns

For as many times that parents counsel their teens not to drink and drive and not to accept a ride with a friend who has been drinking, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the following "sobering" statistics gathered from the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey:
  • High school teens drive after drinking about 2.4 million times a month.
  • 85% of teens in his school who report drinking and driving in the past month also say they binge drank. 
  • 1 in 5 teen driver involved in fatal crashes has some alcohol in their system in 2010. Most of these drivers (81%) had blood alcohol concentration (BAC) higher than the legal limit for adults.

But the latest CDC stats offer some good news

If you can assimilate the statistics offered above, there is some good news regarding teen drinking and driving: Since 1991 drinking and driving among high school aged teens has gone down 54%.

The reasons offered for this decrease include:
  • Many states now have stricter laws that restrict teen driving privileges limiting the hours that teens can legally drive after dark.
  • Some states have graduated driver licensing and limits to the number of passengers a teen driver can have in the vehicle.
  • Teens are driving less as a result of the economy - higher gasoline prices and the general effects of the recession.
  • Many parents use "contracts" with their teens regarding driving rules.

ABC WJLA Channel 8 (Metropolitan Washington D.C. area) video coverage

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here
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