If ever there was a bright side to the ruinous American economy and our exorbitant petroleum prices, it’s this: Bloomberg’s Business week reported that recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that drunk driving among U.S. teens fell 54 percent in the past two decades, largely as a result of not only tougher laws intended to curb underage alcohol consumption, but higher gas prices keeping high school students off the road.
These statistics came from a report published on behalf of the Youth Risk Behavior Surveys, which monitors behaviors that contribute to injuries and violence, sexual behaviors, alcohol and drug use, tobacco use, unhealthy diets, and physical activity. “Teens are especially sensitive to increases in gasoline prices and declines in economic conditions, which might have decreased their miles driven since 2007,” the report said.
The other significant factor examined in compiling the data was the idea that stricter laws such as ensuring a minimum drinking age of 21, and instituting compliance checks for alcohol retailers may have also contributed to the 12 percent decline.
Nevertheless, the entity that seemed to have the most effect in terms of the decline of high school students drinking and driving was the simple fact that fewer teens are on the road. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and prevention report that driving among teens dropped substantially from 2000-2010, as the proportion of high school seniors who didn’t get behind the wheel during an average week increased to 22 percent from 15 percent. Fewer teenagers on the road means that, assuming the percentage of sober teens remained the same, there were fewer drunk teen drivers on the road.
Compounding the benefit of the drop in teen drunk driving is the fact that, according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, persons between the ages of 16 to 20 are 17 times more likely to die in a crash when their blood alcohol is .08 percent, the legal limit in many states, likely as a result of a lack of years of driving experience.
Drunk driving accidents, especially for teens, are tragic but preventable. Reducing drinking and driving is something that can be done to reduce unnecessary deaths. Every time a driver gets behind the wheel of a car, he or she is accepting responsibility for the safety of everyone else on the road. Accidents can and do happen, but when a driver’s reckless behavior or careless actions lead to the injury or death of another person, the driver must be held accountable. Intoxicated driving is unquestionably a form of reckless driving, and, as a result, when a driver gets behind the wheel after drinking, he or she is putting others in danger, and may therefore be responsible for injuries that arise from resultant car accidents.
Injuries suffered as a result of automobile accidents can be severe and life altering. If you or a loved one have been injured in a motor vehicle accident that is the result of another driver’s reckless behavior, contact an attorney to better understand your rights under the law. Our Chicago car accident attorneys have enormous experience handling automobile accident cases, and even obtained a $2.07 million verdict for a 23-year-old woman who suffered multiple leg fractures in an automobile collision.