The Problem of Underage Drinking & Driving

woman smoking behind the wheel

If you have a teenage son or daughter who is 16 or older and they have a driver license, you may be worried about them drinking and driving or getting into a car with a friend who is under the influence – a common concern.

As you know, teenagers are risk takers. Many have the misconception that they are invincible and that nothing bad will happen to them. They don’t know what they don’t know, so they’re more willing to engage in risky behaviors than adults. Not only that, but a lot of teens want to be liked by their peers so they’d rather succumb to peer pressure than say “no” to alcohol or drugs.

Raising a teenager can be scary business for a parent. Even straight A students who are active in the Scouts, their church, or in their school’s programs can make grave mistakes, such as drinking and driving. That being said, we wanted to shed light on the problem of underage drinking, so here are some statistics from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MAAD):

  • Each year, underage drinking kills 4,700 people,
  • Teen alcohol use kills more people annually than illegal drugs,
  • When children start drinking when they’re young, they are 7 times more likely to be in a DUI crash,
  • High school students who use alcohol or drugs are 5 times more likely to be dropouts,
  • The leading cause of death for teens is car accidents, and about 25% of those accidents involve an underage driver who’s been drinking,
  • More than 40% of 10th graders in the U.S. consume alcohol, and
  • 1 in 7 teenagers in the U.S. binge drink, but only 1 in 100 parents believe that their own son or daughter binge drinks.

Other Concerns Relating to Underage Drinking

Aside from DUI crashes, alcohol-related injuries and fatalities associated with teenage drinking and driving, there are other consequences of underage drinking that deserve mention. For starters, underage drinking loosens inhibitions, which can lead to aggression and “blacking out,” as well as engaging in risky sexual behavior. Of course, when teens are under the influence of alcohol, they’re more likely to drink and drive, or get into the car with someone else who has been drinking.

Teens often think that they can “sober up” by drinking coffee or having an energy drink, but caffeine does not have any influence on blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Meaning, the teen will be a “wide awake” drunk, but they’ll be just as drunk as before, if not more due to “rising BAC.”

If your teen is facing DUI charges in Orange County, contact us for help!

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