A new survey shows that many teens may endanger themselves by riding with intoxicated drivers, who may range from peers to family members.
Drunk driving contributes to a significant number of the traffic injuries and fatalities that occur in Alabama each year. According to the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, in 2013 alone, over 260 lives were lost in alcohol-related accidents. These deaths represented 30.5 percent of all traffic fatalities that occurred in the state that year.
Sadly, the danger of serious or deadly drunk driving accidents may be especially significant for teenagers. According to a new survey, a sizable proportion of teens admit to riding in cars with drunk drivers, which could put them at risk for catastrophic accidents.
The survey, which was conducted by State Farm Insurance and Mothers Against Drunk Driving, polled about 600 people between the ages of 15 and 20. According to CBS News, the survey produced the following findings:
- Three out of four respondents claimed that they wouldn’t ride with a drunk driver.
- The majority of the respondents stated that they would feel comfortable speaking up to their peers about the dangers of accepting rides with drunk drivers.
- Despite these statements, 30 percent of respondents reported accepting rides with drunk drivers in the past year.
According to the survey, teenagers who apparently recognize the risks of drunk driving may choose to ride with intoxicated drivers for complex reasons. For example, teens may be concerned about helping a friend get home safely or avoiding spending money on a taxi. Additionally, although teens might not face direct peer pressure, they may receive positive feedback that encourages them to accept a ride with someone who has been drinking.
It’s important to note that teens aren’t just at risk for riding with peers who are intoxicated. According to ABC News, the same survey found that, in 41 percent of the cases in which teens admitted to riding with drunk drivers, the driver was a guardian or family member.
To address this danger, CBS News recommends that parents help their teenagers make plans for dealing with situations that involve riding with an intoxicated driver. Teens can prepare for these situations by practicing what they will say or coming up with alternatives to accepting the ride. This may help teenagers avoid making spontaneous and ultimately harmful choices when faced with this decision in real life.
Unfortunately, statistics suggest that drunk driving accidents may harm many young people this year. According to data from MADD, 378 people between ages 15 and 20 died in fatal car accidents in 2013 while riding with intoxicated drivers. Even more people in this age group may have suffered injuries in similar situations.
The victims of these accidents or their surviving family members may have legal options. When passengers or other road users suffer harm as a result of an alcohol-related accident, the intoxicated driver may be considered liable. Anyone who has sustained injuries or lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident should consider speaking to an attorney for further information.