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Talk to your teenagers about the dangers of impaired driving

A recent survey showed that teenagers understand that impaired driving is dangerous, but have a lax view of what constitutes drunk driving.

With all of the public awareness campaigns regarding drinking and driving, parents may feel they do not need to take the time to discuss the dangers of impaired driving with their children. According to a recent study, however, it is just as important as ever for parents to reinforce the seriousness of drunk driving with their children when they start to drive.

The survey was conducted by Students Against Destructive Decisions and Liberty Mutual Insurance. Teenagers were asked questions about both their cellphone use and drunk driving habits. The results revealed that while teenagers may understand that impaired driving is dangerous, what they consider to constitute drunk driving might not always be accurate.

For instance, 86 percent of the teens surveyed reported that they understood that drunk driving was very distracting. Despite this knowledge, one out of 10 teens surveyed who reported that they never drove under the influence admitted that they sometimes got behind the wheel after having one alcoholic drink.

The teenagers who admitted to driving under the influence, appear to do so after consuming significant amounts of alcohol. While only 5 percent of the teenagers surveyed admitted to such behavior, 68 percent of those teenagers reported that they got behind the wheel after consuming more than three drinks.

Teenagers also seem to have a misunderstanding when it comes to who should qualify as a designated driver. Of the teens surveyed, 21 percent indicated they believed a designated driver could consume "a little" alcohol before getting behind the wheel.

Protect your teen from a serious drunk driving accident

These relaxed attitudes toward drinking and driving can have serious consequences. In Massachusetts alone, 123 people were killed in drunk driving collisions in 2012, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Those deaths accounted for 35 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state that year.

Drunk driving accounted for more traffic fatalities in Massachusetts than the national average, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2010, drunk drivers caused 31 percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States - over 10,225 people lost their lives in such collisions that year.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a drunk driver in Massachusetts, you should evaluate your options to recover damages to account for the harm caused in the collision. In such situations, consulting with a skilled personal injury attorney is a wise first step.

Keywords: drunk driving, teenagers, accidents