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One in 10 teens will drive drunk on New Year’s Eve

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By: Consumer Insurance Guide Staff December 19, 2012 0

Despite knowing the dangers, many teens will still drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol this New Year’s Eve.

More than one in ten (12 percent) of teens reported doing so in the past, according to a recent survey from Students Against Destructive Decisions and Liberty Mutual Insurance..

There are approximately 13 million licensed teenage drivers in the U.S. and they already know this is a hazardous time to be on the road. Of the more than 1,700 teens surveyed, 49 percent consider driving on New Year’s as very or extremely dangerous. 

Parents may not be helping to curb this behavior, as findings suggest parental consent to teenage drinking is also on the rise.

“There are approximately 3,000 teenage driving-related deaths a year, a third of which involve alcohol,” Dave Melton, driving safety expert with Liberty Mutual Insurance and managing director of global safety, said in a statement. “Parents have to play an active role in preventing underage drinking. Talk to your kids before New Year’s celebrating begins and make sure they understand the importance of making smart, and possibly life-saving, decisions.”

According to 2012 survey findings, parents have become more accepting of alcohol usage by their teenage children compared to 2010 and 2011 data.  Despite more than 150 cities or counties and 24 states adopting laws which hold social hosts liable for serving alcohol to minors, nearly half (47 percent) of teens are allowed by their parents to go to parties where alcohol is served and 15 percent say they are allowed to host parties with alcohol.  Additionally, 37 percent say they are allowed to drink when their parents are present and 29 percent report that they are allowed to drink unsupervised.

“Many adults have a ‘been there, done that’ mentality when it comes to the issue of impaired driving among teens. Yet, research points out that a majority of their children know that this is a timely and important issue,” Stephen Wallace, SADD’s senior advisor for policy, research and education, said in a statement. “Ask your teen to make a New Year’s resolution to avoid underage drinking and to stay out of cars with impaired drivers.”

How often do parents allow their teenagers to do each of the following? (at least rarely)

 

2010

 

2011

 

2012

Drink alcohol with them

30%

31%

37%

Drink alcohol when they are not with them

21%

25%

29%

Host a party where alcohol is being served

14%

12%

15%

Go to a party where alcohol is being served

36%

41%

47%

Apparently most teens know when to speak up.  Eighty-seven percent of surveyed teens indicated they would ask a driver under the influence of alcohol to refrain from driving. Equally important, 92 percent of teen drivers say they would stop driving under the influence of alcohol if asked by a passenger, indicating there is even more opportunity for teens to encourage safe behaviors among their friends.

“The best thing a parent can do is have an open and ongoing dialogue with their children about drinking and driving,” Melton said.  “Talk through the dangers of reckless decisions and help your kids understand that the conversation isn’t punitive, it’s preventative.  I would also encourage all parents and teens to sign the Parent/Teen Driving Contract as a first step toward lifelong safe driving habits, and for parents to make sure to model responsible behavior themselves.”

 

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