Groups » Teenage Drinking and Driving – A Deadly Mix

A 17 seventeen year old student from Torrey Pines High School killed one of his friends while they were returning from a party. The driver was charged for negligence and DUI. The blood-alcohol content of the accused was found to be 0.10 percent almost an hour after the crash.  The Highway Patrol officers confirmed that combination of alcohol and speeding resulted in the fatal accident.

Teenage drinking has become a growing concern in the U.S as in other parts of the world. The consequences of teenage drinking can affect everyone, and pose enormous health and safety risks. Have a look:

  • Traffic deaths and injuries affect young people more than any other age group

  • Alcohol and/or drug impairment is the major factor in more than 55 percent of motor vehicle crashes leading to death

  • In fact, the use of alcohol is much more prevalent among teens, compared to cigarettes and marijuana.

    Teens often get involved in personal injury cases as a result of drunk driving, which have adverse effects on their lives. Drinking and driving can not only harm the drivers, the passengers, and other people on the road, but it can also get the driver into serious problem. Take the example of the teenager who killed his classmate: He was represented by one of the renowned personal injury lawyer in Ontario, but even the best lawyer was not able to protect him from the punishment (rehabilitation in case of teenagers).

    What Can Parents Do to Stop Drunk Driving Among Teens

    Car accidents are the number one cause of death among teens, and those ages 16 to 19 are the most vulnerable. Older adults are at risk of getting involved in accidents and sued when the BAC level is 0.08 percent or higher; but, teens are at risk at any BAC level. Thus, it is important for teens, as well as their parents, to understand the dangers of drunk driving and how to prevent them.

    As children grow, they have an urge to assert their independence and try taking risks. Teens are fascinated by drinking, but most fail to recognize its effects on their health and the potential risks. The most common reasons why people start drinking at a young age are:
  • Peer pressure

  • Desire for independence

  • Coping with stress

  • According to experts, teens get involved in car accidents due to immaturity that leads to speeding and other risky habits. Moreover, teens often don’t recognize how to respond to emergencies or hazards due to sheer inexperience. Alcohol impairs their thought further, which is why most teenaged drunk drivers end up getting involved in fatal accidents.

    In order to help the teens prevent drunk driving, here is what parents can do:

    1. Set Clear Rules

    A study (on more than 1,000 teens) found that teens whose parents set clear expectations regarding their behaviors and keep an eye on their kids, especially when they are coming and going, are less likely to adopt risky behaviors. Stopping your teen from driving won’t help a lot; if you don’t allow them to drive your car, they will drive someone else’s. Encourage them to avoid driving while under the influence of alcohol.

    2. Help Your Children Understand Drunk Driving Laws

    Teens often get involved in risky behavior without understanding its consequences. As parents, you must communicate with your children clearly and let them know how the law works. The penalties for DUI depend on the kind of damages done. For instance, in Ontario, California if no bodily injury or death results from DUI, then the punishment would include: 

    • 48-hour jail sentence or a 90-day license restriction

    • $390 fine in addition to $1,000 in ordinary penalty assessments

    • Driving rights being blocked for a minimum of 30 days

    The maximum penalty would be $1,000 fine along with $2,600 in penalty assessments; six months jail time and six-month license suspension. 

    3. Avoid Serving Alcohol to Teens

    About 99 percent of parents admit that they would not serve alcohol to their children while at a party; but, 28 percent of teens admit that they were served alcohol while they have been at supervised parties. Even though parents believe that their children attend parties with no alcohol or drugs, half of teens say that alcohol, drugs, or both were available at the parties, according to a survey by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia.

    So, it is important for parents to know their teens’ friends and their parents. This way, they can monitor their whereabouts and make sure that they are not served alcohol or drugs.

    4. Have a Safety Plan for Special Occasions

    It is almost impossible to stop teens from attending special occasions like prom night or a graduation party; so, it is best to have a safety plan. Here is what you can do:

    • Hire a limo for a group of teens who will be together during the party

    • Make sure your children have a mobile phone to get in touch with you in case of emergencies

    • Talk to the school authority to reduce the likelihood of drinking while at the party

    • Ask an older sibling to drive them to the party


    Parents play an important role in making their teenage children more responsible toward themselves and their society. It is always possible to save children from the adverse effects of the judicial system with help of experienced attorneys; but, it is always best to teach them how to become responsible before legal help is necessary.

    By being more responsible, teens can not only make themselves safe, but the chances of harming others will also be reduced considerably. Accidents can still happen, even if your teen was not under influence of alcohol. In these cases, you can file a personal injury lawsuit and claim compensation. Stay safe and responsible, and keep others safe as well.

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