Most of those killed in alcohol-related crashes involving teen drivers are the young drivers themselves and their passengers
The problem of driving under the influence:
- Drivers are less likely to use seat belts when they have been drinking3.
- In 2013, 21.9% of students nationwide was a passenger at least once in a vehicle driven by someone who had been drinking alcohol in the past 30 days2.
- A person’s driving ability is impaired under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs – meaning they have trouble judging distances, reacting to sudden changes and overall are more likely to make dangerous decisions while driving putting their lives and your own in danger.
- 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.
Know the Consequences:
- 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.
What to do about driving under the influence of alcohol:
- If the driver of your vehicle has been drinking or has used drugs:
- Refuse to ride with them
- Call someone you trust to help
- Walk, bike, or find a different way if your trip is short
- If you see a driver that should not drive:
- Let a responsible adult know
- Tell him or her to call a cab or find a ride
- Ask him or her to wait until they are able to drive
- Food, coffee or exercise will not reduce the amount of alcohol in someone’s system. Only time decreases the effects of alcohol.
- Don’t believe someone can “fool” a police officer. They are trained to look for tale-tell signs of someone who is under the influence.
- Everyone reacts to alcohol differently. If you know a friend has been drinking, assume they are unable to drive.
- 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