Strategies for Protecting Kids from Teen Drunken Driving Accidents in Georgia


February 01, 2013

Analysis of recent teenage drunk driving statistics reveals an interesting paradox.

While fatal teen drunk driving accident rates have fallen to their lowest levels in more than two decades, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that high school aged drivers operate motor vehicles while impaired by alcohol over 2.4 million times each month.

While many tools have been successfully employed to reduce the risk of teen drunk driving accidents, the problem persists despite implementation of zero tolerance laws for teen alcohol-related crashes and use of graduated driver’s license programs. Graduated driver’s license programs have been shown to be one of the most effective means to reduce teen drunken driving fatalities resulting in declines of between 38-40 percent according to the CDC.

The CDC also reports that the number of teen drivers that operate motor vehicles under the influence of alcohol has declined by 54 percent over the last two decades. These findings are supplemented by a national survey that revealed ninety percent of teens indicate they do not drink and drive. Despite this positive news, the risk of a drunken driving collision is higher for teen drivers than drivers of all other ages.

Ralph Hingson, a director at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism suggests the use of personal stories by adults as an effective approach to achieve further reductions in teen drunken driving. Hingson indicates that statistics about the risk of drunk driving are not as persuasive as personal stories about drunken driving accident victims. He has addressed the issue of drunk driving across the country and indicates that real stories by people who have had their lives touched or lost loved ones in alcohol-impaired accidents are more effective than faceless statistics.

Another strategy for discouraging teens from engaging in DUI involves open communication by parents. Groups like MADD note that the longstanding view that peer pressure has a dispositive influence on teen drunken driving behavior may be misguided. The organization began to adapt a new approach in 2008 when reviewing drunken driving studies. MADD realized that assemblies at school are less effective than conversations between children and parents. Multiple studies show that parents who talk to their children about the risks of drunken driving behavior can have a significant impact on whether their teens use alcohol before driving. Parents that model responsible behavior by not drinking and driving also can have significant influence on their kids driving safety decisions.

While not directly a strategy that targets drunken driving per se, parents that emphasize seatbelt use can reduce the risk of severe injury in collisions involving alcohol impaired teen drivers. Teenagers have lower levels of seatbelt use than adult drivers of any age, but seat belt use can reduce the risk of auto collision-related injuries by as must as fifty percent according to research conducted by the National Safety Council (NSC).

If you are injured by a teen drunken driver or your teen is injured as a passenger of a teen driver impaired by alcohol, this may provide the basis for a drunken driving crash accident claim. Alcohol impaired driving constitutes a deviation from the reasonable standard of care expected of drivers. This form of negligent driving also may constitute such a significant deviation from prudent driving that it justifies punitive damages.

Our Georgia auto wreck attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.