Drinking and Driving teen facts!

Essay by JustanameJunior High, 8th gradeC, February 2003

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Use of alcohol and other drugs is associated with the leading causes of death and injury among teenagers and young adults. Nationally, nearly 8,800 drinking drivers died in crashes, which killed a total of more than 16,600 people in 2000. Over 2,300 of those drivers were between the ages of 16 and 24. Nationally 26% of all male drivers age 15-20 had been drinking prior to their involvement in a fatal crash. For females, the corresponding figure was 13%. Youth drinking and driving in the United States decreased spectacularly in the past two decades. For example the number of drinking drivers under the age of 21 in fatal crash dropped 61%, from 4,393 in 1982 to 1,714 in 1998. Young adults ages 18-25 are most likely to binge or drink heavily. 54% of the drinkers in this age group binge and about one in four are heavy drinkers. Individuals under age 21 were the victims in just over 13% of incidents of alcohol-related violence, and the offenders in nearly 9%.

Nationally, youth drinking and driving as measured by fatal crash involvements and by self-reported drinking and driving behavior decreased substantially from 1982 to 1998. Most of the decrease took place between 1982 and 1992. Youth drinking also decreased from 1982 to 1998, but not as much as youth drinking and driving. During 1999 traffic citations issued to 16-year-old drivers declined 20%. Sixteen-year-old drivers were involved in 5,040 crashes in 2000, down 1,166 or nearly 20% from the 1998 total of 6,206.

Drinking and driving has become less socially acceptable among youth, as measured by high school senior student attitudes reported by Monitoring the Future and by the use and acceptance of designated drivers by college students. Some factors that may have contributed to the decline in both impaired driving and...