Teens don’t understand risks of driving under the influence

It’s prom season in Boston, which means that teens throughout the area will be getting dressed up and hitting the town to celebrate. However, all to often, this celebrating involves a deadly combination: drinking and driving. Most adults understand the risks of drinking and driving, including criminal charges and fatal car accidents.

But according to a recent poll from Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), close to 25 percent of teens admit to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, yet 91 percent of teens consider themselves safe drivers. This suggests that teenager drivers do not fully understand the risks associated with drunk and impaired driving.

In fact, the survey by Liberty Mutual and SADD found that nearly 40 percent of teens who admitted to drinking and driving said that they believed alcohol has no impact on their driving and some even believe it improved their driving. A full 75 percent of teens who admitted to driving under the influence of marijuana said they felt the same way.

What’s more is that U.S. Census data shows that there are about 13 million driving-aged teenagers in the United States, which means that as many as 3 million impaired teen drivers could be on the roads this prom season, putting themselves, their passengers and others on the road at risk.

Each year, more than 3,000 teen driving deaths occur, and prom, graduation and the Fourth of July are the most dangerous times for teen driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s why it’s vital to talk to your teen today about the dangers of drinking and driving before it’s too late.

Source: PR News Wire, “One in Four Teens Admits to Driving Under the Influence and Many Believe It Does Not Impact Their Safety,” Liberty Mutual and SADD, April 25, 2013