Teen Drinking & Driving: A Dangerous Mix

Nearly one million high school teens drank and drove in 2011. Teens are 3 times more likely than more experienced drivers to be in a fatal crash and drinking and driving increases this risk for teens. The Problem: Drinking & Driving Can Be Deadly, Especially for Teens.

  • Although drinking and driving among teens has decreased by 54% since 1991, high school teens are still drinking and driving about 2.4 million times a month.
  • 85% of teens who admitted to drinking and driving in the past month also say they binge drank.
  • 20% of teen drivers who had been involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes had some alcohol in their system in 2010. 81% of these teen drivers had a BAC level of above .08%.

If you or your teen have been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident involving drinking and driving, contact us immediately. Current Efforts to Prevent Teen Drinking & Driving:

  • Minimum Legal Drinking Age: research has shown that enforcement of MLDA laws using alcohol retailer compliance checks has reduced retail sales of alcohol to those under 21.
  • Zero Tolerance laws in every state in the U.S. make it illegal for individuals under 21 to drive after drinking any alcohol.
  • Graduated Driver Licensing: the GDL system helps new drivers get more experienced is less risky conditions. As a teen moves through the stages of the GDL system, she/he will gain privileges, such as driving at night. Specific rules vary by state.
  • Parental Involvement is important in regards to restricting what new drivers are allowed to do. Research has shown that when parents enforce the “rules of the road”, teen drivers are less likely to be involved in traffic collisions and have lower rate of reckless driving.

What Can Be Done To Prevent Teen Drinking & Driving:

  • States & communities can increase awareness among teens and parents as well as strengthen law enforcement of existing policies.
  • Pediatricians and other health professionals can screen teens for risky behaviors. Health professionals can also educate parents and teens about the risks of drinking and driving as well as remind parents to lead by example as safe drivers.
  • Parents can recognize the dangers of teen drinking and driving and that teens are at much greater risk of crashing after drinking alcohol than experienced drivers. They can also provide their teen with a safe way to get home if their driver has been drinking. Parents can consider tools like parent-teen driving agreements to enforce the “rules of the road”.
  • Teens can choose to never drink and drive. They can refuse to ride in a car with a driver who has been drinking. They can also never text and drive.

Read the full article: CDC: Teen Drinking & Driving