Drivers between 16-20 are 17 times more likely to die in a crash when they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% compared to when they have not been drinking
The problem of driving under the influence:
- Young drivers are less likely than adults to drive after drinking alcohol, but their crash risk is substantially higher when they do. This is especially true at low and moderate blood alcohol concentrations (BACs)1.
- Drivers are less likely to use restraints when they have been drinking3.
- In the most recent survey, 1 out of every 13 high school students 16 and older reported drinking and driving in the past 30 days2.
- In 2013, 21.9% of students nationwide had ridden one or more times in a car or other vehicle driven by someone who had been drinking alcohol in the past 30 days4.
- In 2014, the amount of 16-17 year older drivers involved in fatal crashes with a BAC greater than .08 increased from 10% to 15%5.
- Most of those killed in alcohol-related crashes involving teen drivers are the young drivers themselves and their passengers3.
What to do about driving under the influence of alcohol:
- Driving after even one drink is just not worth it. Ride with a sober friend, ask someone else to drive or call a parent or older sibling.
- Food, coffee or exercise will not reduce the amount of alcohol in your system. Only time decreases the effects of alcohol.
- Don’t believe you can “fool” a police officer. They are trained to look for tale-tell signs of a driver who is under the influence.
- If a friend has been drinking and is about to drive, speak up. Offer to drive, take the keys or call a parent.
- Never get in the car with a driver who has been drinking. Everyone reacts to alcohol differently. If you know a friend has been drinking, assume they are unable to drive.
The law and other consequences of driving under the influence:
- Zero tolerance law makes it illegal per se (in and of itself) for persons under the age of 21 to drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in their blood3.
- Violators of underage drinking laws often face a trip to jail, the loss of their driver’s license, and dozens of other unanticipated expenses including attorney fees, court costs, and other fines3.
- A DUI conviction follows a teen, so there is the added embarrassment, humiliation, and potential loss and consequence related to academic eligibility, college acceptance, scholarship awards, and more3.
- Increased efforts by local law enforcement make the chances of getting caught even greater3.
- The Texas Department of Transportation conducted a study which found that a first time offender could expect to pay between $5,000 and $24,000 for DWI arrest and conviction.
- Voas, R.B.; Torres, P.; Romano, E.; and Lacey, J.H. 2012. Alcohol-related risk of driver fatalities: an update using 2007 data. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs 73(3):341-350.
- Center for Disease Control, 2015. Youth risk behavior surveillance. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/pdf/2015/ss6506_updated.pdf
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- Center for Disease Control, 2013. Youth risk behavior surveillance. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
- IIHS, Alcohol Impaired Driving Facts, 2014