Statistics show that teenagers 15-20 years of age are more likely than anyone else to drive under the influence of alcohol, according to the Edgar Snyder website. As the Snyder website further points out, about 1,900 people under the age of 21 die per year in automobile accidents. Perhaps the main reason teenagers drink and drive is because they believe they are invincible. In spite of all the public service advertisements they have seen on TV or the Internet, or heard on the radio, for some reason they believe it does not apply to them. However, according to FirstEagle.com, teenage boys with a 0.5 percent alcohol level are 18 times as likely as their non-drinking peers to be involved in an automobile accident. If one were to place a teenaged girl behind the wheel of the same car, she becomes 54 times as likely to become involved in such a crash, given the same blood alcohol content levels.
Worst Holiday for Teen DUI's
New Year's Eve is by far the worst holiday possible for drinking and driving, according to a survey attributed to Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Drunk Driving, as cited by the Norristown Patch. Ten percent of drivers under age 20 have driven under the influence after a New Year's Eve event, according to the 2011 study.
As a teen drunk driver, a police officer may confiscate your license immediately. Your license may be suspended for a year or more, depending on the state in which the incident occurred. In addition, a drunk driving charge can remain on your record for ten years or more. In turn, this could make attaining a job or an apartment very difficult as potential employers and/or landlords see you as being a basically irresponsible person. Moreover, you could lose valued friendships with peers, and you could be discharged from a job that pays quite well. In addition, your high school may expel you, which could create problems for you attempting to enter college. Or, if you are already in college, you could face disciplinary action from the dean of your university, up to and including dismissal. In addition, according to the Stanford Hospital website, you place yourself at risk for a life-altering brain injury. Teenagers who drink and drive risk permanent brain damage because of the high chance of getting into a car accident.
Depending on the state in which you live, the fines themselves can rise as high as $400 or more. In almost all cases, you will have to pay a fee for the impoundment and/or towing of your vehicle--most likely another $600 or more. Attorney fees and court costs can run well over $2,000. Moreover, you could severely strain the relationship between yourself and your parents as their insurance costs increase another $6,000 or more.
Parents, teachers and peers can all take part in preventing this tragedy from continuing to unfold. Educators, for example, can invite police officers to schools and colleges who can explain in graphic detail what can happen to people--especially under age 21--who drink and drive. They can speak of how it can affect their long term chances of success in life. They can show films from YouTube and other video sources that show the ramifications of drunk or drugged driving at any age. Asking a person who has lost a loved one, or lost the ability to walk due to an alcohol-related accident can not only be shocking, but also be life changing. A 12 hour MIP class might help.
Parents can help not only by setting boundaries, but also a good example. If you are seen driving after having a glass of wine or a beer, your child will think that that practice is acceptable, regardless of what you say, or the rules you impose on his driving. That is why it is important to ensure that your example matches your precept.