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Do Teen Drunk Driving Laws Really Reduce Teen Car Crashes?

April 04, 2012

Georgia, like many states, has struggled with the issue of high Georgia car accident rates caused by teenage drivers. Many Georgia teen car accidents are alcohol-related.

Teen alcohol use has been estimated to cause the death of 6,000 people per year according to the Institute of Medicine National Research Council of the National Academies. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens and one out of three of those is alcohol-related based on data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Georgia and the majority of states have confronted this problem by passing special laws aimed at reducing the number of teenage auto accidents, especially those that are alcohol-related. While some have indicated that these laws are unnecessary and do not yield significant safety benefits, there is new evidence that some of these laws do have a significant impact on teen car accident rates. A new study has identified four underage drinking laws that lead to reductions in fatal underage drinking-and-driving crashes: possession, purchase, use and lose, and zero tolerance.

James C. Fell, Senior Program Director at the Pacific Institute for Research & Evaluation and author for the study, revealed that between 1982 and 2004, there was a 62-percent decrease in teen drinking drivers compared to a 33-percent decrease in drinking drivers over 21 that were involved in fatal car accidents. Fell suggests that at least part of the disparity during that period is the direct result of laws that target teens who drink and drive as well as increasing the drinking age to 21 during that same period.

The researchers analyzed six specific laws aimed at preventing teen drunk driving and found that four of the laws may play an important role in reducing the number of Georgia teen drinking car accidents. The study revealed that the four most effective laws that may be used to reduce teen drunk driving include possession, purchase, use and lose, and zero tolerance which they estimate save 864 lives annually. For example, Use and Lose laws result in a significant five-percent decrease in the rate of underage drinking drivers in fatal crashes and save over 132 lives in the states where these laws exist.

The study reveals that laws can effectively reduce Georgia teen drunk driving accidents. However, the number of people who suffer catastrophic injury or wrongful death is still far too high. Research like this recent study that quantifies the positive result of laws aimed to reduce drunk driving can hopefully contribute to a continuing decline in Georgia teen drunk driving accidents, as well as in other states. The teen drinking and driving accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing those injured by both adult and teenage drunk drivers for over 39 years. If you suffer serious injury or the loss of a loved one in a Georgia drunk driving accident with a teen driver, contact us for your free consultation to learn how our experienced Georgia teen drunk driving accident lawyers can protect your rights and help you obtain the compensation that you deserve.

Our Georgia teen drunk driving accident lawyers are available to assist 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 and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

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All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.

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