The Facts about Teenage Drinking and Driving
Impaired driving accounts for more than 16,000 deaths, one million injuries, and $45 billion in costs to society every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal. This driving behavior not only puts the driver at risk, but could result in injuring or killing others. Impaired drivers’ judgment, reflexes, and coordination are all compromised. Common effects of being under the influence include:
- Slow reaction time
- Alteration of depth perception
- Hyperactivity from a high
- Reduction of peripheral vision
- Lack of awareness of surroundings
- Impaired driving puts teens at higher risks of injury or death
Alcohol-related fatality rates are nearly twice as high for 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds as for those over age 21.
Young drivers are less likely than adults are to drive after drinking alcohol, but when they do, their crash risks are substantially higher. This risk is especially true at low and moderate blood alcohol concentrations and is thought to result from teens’ relative inexperience as new drivers.
The 2002 National Household Survey on drug abuse revealed that the rate of drugged driving increased with each year of age, peaking among 19-year-olds at 16% and generally decreased with increasing age among those ages 20 or older.
Impaired Driving Statistics
- In 2008, an estimated 12.4% of persons ages 12 or older drove under the influence of alcohol at least once during the past year. The rate was highest among persons ages 21-25 (26.2%). [SAMHSA, NHTSA]
- In 2008, 11,773 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (32%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. [NHTSA]
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