Teen drivers are more likely to get into an accident than more experienced drivers. Many people have the perception that teenage drivers may be texting on their phones and distracted by their friends while driving, increasing the chance of an accident. However, the public may underestimate the dangers of teenage drivers under the influence. Researchers are calling for an increase in teenage DUI education programs.
Researchers with the University of California San Diego School of Medicine are looking to educate teen drivers about the dangers of drunk driving. With funding from the California Office of Traffic Safety, UCSD researchers will team up with law enforcement to educate teens and parents in a Teen Alcohol Awareness Program (TAAP).
Just because the legal age to drink in the U.S. is 21, underage drivers may still find access to alcohol. Teenage drivers may be more prone to accidents after drinking because they are not sure how much alcohol will affect their ability to drive. They may get behind the wheel after having no idea how intoxicated they really are.
“In a recent survey, one out of ten high school students admitted to driving after drinking and one in four had been a passenger with a driver who had been drinking,” said Linda Hill, MD, MPH, program director of the Training, Research, and Education for Driving Safety Program (TREDS). “Parental involvement can help guide teens away from substance use while driving.
Together with the police department and Social Advocates for Youth (SAY), the groups will present educational programs at local high schools and present a social media campaign that puts forward prevention and intervention strategies. The program will also educate parents of the responsibilities of social hosting and the possible penalties involved.
“Alcohol-involved crash fatalities increased nearly 8 percent just last year and drug involved crash fatalities have increased nearly 14% in the past decade,” said Nancy Gannon Hornberger, CEO of SAY San Diego. “Together we will involve parents and community members to reverse these trends and prevent such tragedy in the lives of young people and their families.”
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 18% of males and 10% of females aged 16 to 17 who were fatally injured in an accident had blood alcohol levels above 0.08%, the legal limit for adult drivers. That number increased to 30% and 17% respectively for teen drivers 18 to 19-years old. California has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drivers who can face charges if their BAC registers any amount of alcohol in their blood while driving.
At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending people facing DUI charges in the East Bay. With more than 30 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands how damaging a DUI conviction can be for a young driver. It can even impact your educational future. If you are facing an underage DUI charge, contact the local East Bay DUI defense attorney who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested.