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Impaired Driving
teen DUI statistics are scary

Teen DUI Statistics and Impaired Driving

Teen DUI statistics should scare us all. Impaired driving is a major factor that increases the risk of a serious crash. Impaired driving includes driving under the influence of alcohol or drug use and when drowsy. Impaired driving affects judgment, reaction times, and awareness, which makes it especially dangerous for teen drivers whose inexperience already places them at four times the crash rate as adults.

Teens need to understand when they are unfit to drive. Consuming alcohol or other drugs, including marijuana, in any amount, makes them unfit to drive and can result in a DUI or worse. While it can be harder to recognize, driving while drowsy is also considered an “impairment” and increases crash risk.

It’s critical that teens avoid riding with an impaired driver. Teens should know they can always call a parent for a ride home instead of getting in a car with an impaired driver. Teenagers and parents should know teen DUI statistics, impaired driving laws, and other facts about impaired driving to help manage this crash risk. Alternative rides home, such as taxis and ride share companies, are options in more populated areas.

Families with teens should be encouraged by research conducted at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia that shows teens with involved parents are less likely to crash and much less likely to drive intoxicated compared to teens with less involved parents. Keeping the lines of communication open really matters. Teens who share knowledge about their lives with their parents are less likely to abuse alcohol in the future.

With some planning, parents can help teens avoid impaired driving. Here's how:

  • Listen and be responsive to teens’ concerns, which are often quite practical. Although it may be difficult to hear, encourage teens to share potential unsafe scenarios where parents may need to help. These can include being asked to ride home with someone who is impaired or driving while impaired.
  • Develop rules and expectations together. Teens need to know that they can always call their parents for a ride home instead of getting in a car with an impaired driver or driving themselves without being punished. Parents themselves can be the reason for teens saying “no” to peers to avoid unsafe situations.
  • Make getting enough sleep a priority. Drowsy driving is a factor that increases the risk of a crash. Offer rides to school or work when teens are up late studying.

 

Statistics

Alcohol is involved in 1 in 4 crash fatalities among those under age 21 years in the U.S.

More Teen DUI Statistics

  • 20 percent of high school students nationwide report riding with a driver who had been drinking alcohol at least once during the prior month.

  • Teens who drink underage or who ride with impaired drivers are more likely to drive impaired themselves.

  • In addition to direct impairments, driving while drowsy can also increase the existing risks of distracted driving and can put all road users at risk, including child passengers.

  • Teen drivers are less likely than adults to drink and drive, but their crash risk is substantially higher when they do, even with low or moderate blood-alcohol (BAC) levels.

  • Being awake for 18 hours is similar to having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08, which is legally intoxicated.

Pick Your Practice

With a couple of clicks, think about what skills you would like to practice first as a learner driver, and we’ll point you to videos and tips on how to practice them. Take this online driving quiz to Pick Your Practice!

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