Despite better education and harsher penalties, teenage drunk driving remains a problem. Drunk drivers account for about two out of every three fatalities in the United States. In addition, the number of drunk driving deaths among teenagers has decreased in recent years, but the problem is still a serious one.
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The United States Department of Transportation estimates that in the year 2011, nearly one million teens drove and drank at the same time. This is a staggering number, especially when you consider that in that same year, more than one million drivers were arrested for DUI. A teen driver is 17 times more likely to die in an alcohol-related crash if he has a blood alcohol concentration of.08, or about the same level as a legal adult. Luckily, the CDC says that the rate of drinking and driving among high school students has decreased significantly over the past two decades.
Teenagers who drive under the influence of alcohol are also more likely to engage in dangerous situations, such as speeding or driving a vehicle with a drunk occupant. In addition, a teen who drives while impaired is less likely to wear a seatbelt or use safety restraints, compared to a non-drinking teen. In addition, a drunk teen is three times more likely to be in a fatal crash than an experienced driver.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the amount of alcohol consumed by teenagers has decreased by more than half in the past two decades. This is due in part to harsher punishments and better education, but it also has to do with social acceptance. Nearly 70 percent of all teen drivers admit to drinking alcohol. Moreover, most teen drinkers binge drink, meaning they drink more than five alcoholic drinks within a couple of hours. This is important because binge drinking is one of the most dangerous ways for teens to get behind the wheel of a car.
The CDC has identified 2.4 million drunk driving incidents among high school students each month. This is a huge number, considering the average number of teen drunk drivers who are injured or killed each month. In addition, almost all teens who report driving under the influence of alcohol said they drank within the past month. The CDC’s survey also reported that 85% of these teen drivers drank more than five times. This number is even higher for males, who were more likely to binge drink than females.
The CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveys have tracked the drinking and driving of teens across 41 states. They were conducted in 2011. They found that in the summer of 2011, there was an increase in the number of fatal crashes involving drunk driving, with more than twice as many drunk drivers as in the spring and fall. However, the CDC does not say that drinking and driving is the primary cause of these fatalities. Instead, the study cites factors such as distracted driving and speeding.