Few things are as tragic as a promising life cut short because of a preventable crash. Sadly, every year high-school students in Virginia see their classmates seriously hurt or killed in auto accidents – accidents that for the most part could have been prevented.
One big risk factor for teen drivers is underage drinking. Teenagers, already at greater risk for being involved in a car crash because of their lack of driving experience and brains that aren’t fully developed, can cause serious wrecks if they get behind the wheel while intoxicated. It is a well-known fact that alcohol slows reaction times and impairs judgment, and drunken teenagers feel these effects even more strongly than many adults.
How big a problem is underage drinking?
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration conducted a National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Their findings were sobering. For individuals age 12-17:
- 14.6 percent had consumed at least one alcoholic drink within 30 days before being surveyed
- 8.8 percent had binged on alcoholic beverages (more than 5 drinks within 2 hours)
- 2 percent drank alcohol heavily (more than 5 drinks on more than 5 occasions)
Key Point: Even teens who do not drink are at risk of an alcohol related auto accident
It is important for teenagers (and their parents) to realize that even if they don’t drink, they can still be hurt or killed in a crash because of underage drinking. This is because a teen’s friends can drink, and if the teen is not aware that they’ve been drinking or if the teen does not think underage drinking is a big deal, they might get into a car being driven by an intoxicated peer.
There are many cases of sober teenagers who don’t drink or do drugs being killed in alcohol related accidents – because their friends were drinking. If teens are not educated about the risks of underage alcohol use, especially dangers related to driving while intoxicated, they can suffer or die because of their friends’ negligent behavior.
Read more about teenagers and auto accidents and underage drinking and driving:
- Are our Teen Drivers Out of Control?
- How Would Lowering the Drinking Age Affect Teen Drivers?
- Speaker warns Virginia teens about the dangers of drinking and driving
- Minimum Legal Drinking Age Laws
Culpeper & Warrenton residents: get help after a car wreck
Injured in a Virginia car crash? Please contact one of the Virginia offices of Dulaney, Lauer & Thomas today and let us review your case for no cost or obligation.
DULANEY, LAUER & THOMAS, LLP
98 Alexandria Pike, Suite 11
Warrenton, VA 20186
Toll Free: 888.907.2631
209 N. West Street
Culpeper, VA 22701
Toll Free: 800.741.1012