Teen Drinking and Driving
Did you know that your child may be significantly at risk just by getting into a vehicle? Many of us worry about young teen drivers. Are they safe? Will they get home in one piece? Are the friends they’re riding with safe drivers? It’s not teens’ inexperienced driving that’s causing stir in our communities, as much as the alcohol consumption that’s being involved while driving. According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of young adult deaths. A startling 12.8% of those accidents were alcohol-related, and 40% of those deaths involved teens driving while they were drinking alcohol. Shocking. Also according to the NHTSA, 23% of teen drivers in fatal car crashes had blood alcohol levels that well exceeded the legal limit.
These statistics may seem daunting; however, there are things that concerned parents and community members can do to help decrease teen related drinking and driving. Many states have banned together to create a “SafeRides” programs for young adults. On the weekends there are volunteers standing by on hotlines to take phone calls from teens that are too intoxicated to drive. The teen is then given a ride home with no questions asked and no cost to them or their parent. Another organization that has sprung up is Students Against Drunk Driving or SADD. Parents and teens sign a document that ensures the teen will call home any time they feel they or a friend is too intoxicated to drive. The parent agrees to pick up their child with no questions asked until later.
Remember, a teen doesn’t have to be legally intoxicated or show signs of being drunk to be a danger to themselves or others on the roads. To start a SADD chapter in your community, go to //www.sadd.org/formchapter.htm or call 1-877-SADD-INC for more information. Safety begins at home.
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