Editorial: Drinking, Driving by Teens Still Problematic

Molly Glus, Lifestyle Section Editor

On an average weekend, a car-crash is responsible for the death of one teen every hour. In over 45 percent of those crashes, alcohol is involved. That statistic is one that should never have to be seen.

The teenage life is filled with new responsibilities and experiences, and one of the most important events in their lives is getting their license and the ability to drive. That privilege, though, puts teenagers lives at risk, and even more so when they choose to drive under the influence of alcohol. With the ability to buy things such as alcohol and drugs being easier than ever, teenagers are pressured into making the fateful decision to drink and drive. The drunk driving issue among teenagers is still problematic today.

According to the Los Angeles DUI Lawyer Ted Burgess, motor vehicle crashes cause the deaths of over 35 percent of people ages 16-20. Of that percentage, 36.1 percent are due to alcohol involvement. More than 28,000 people lose their lives due to alcohol or drug related crashes every year, which is nearly one third of all traffic accidents in the United States.

Although the drunk driving issue is prevalent among all age groups, the New York Times reports that 21 percent of young drivers involved in a fatal accident have some alcohol in their system, which is the highest of all age groups. That plays into the teenager’s age and the ability to process alcohol effectively. Even a small amount of alcohol can impair someone’s ability to do multiple things at once. With a less experienced driver, such as a teenager, that level of impaired ability is much higher with the same small amount of alcohol, causing lack of quick reaction time or reasoning.

Furthermore, according to Live Science, teenage drinking is rarely done in moderation. In fact, binge drinking, which is having at least five alcoholic drinks within a few hours, was reported by 85 percent of high school teenagers. Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that the law prohibits anyone from driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level of .08 or higher, and is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drive with any alcohol in their system. Binge drinking forces teenagers well around or above the .08 limit.

The teenage drunk driving statistics are still significant, verifying that there is still a serious problem that needs to be fixed. With teenagers pushing themselves to their functional limits, children with their entire lives ahead of them lose it all due to one fatal mistake.

To ensure this does not happen to any other child, get in touch with your local school board members or leaders and have them create a presentation to share with students about the dangers of drunk driving. Also, encourage teenagers to sign a no drinking and driving pledge on the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) website, and help your local SADD clubs raise awareness against drunk driving.

No parent should have to get a phone call that their child was a victim of drunk driving. It is a loss that can be easily prevented with the help of others.