Student and Teen Driving Safety Guide to Drunk and Impaired Driving

Ten percent of high school students drink and drive, and the risk of crashing is still substantially higher for teens than any other age group, even with a blood-alcohol level that is low or moderate. Our student and teen driving safety guide to drunk driving reveals some eye-opening statistics, about the dangers and consequences of drunk or impaired driving, and includes resources for students and parents.

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Natasha McLachlan is a writer who currently lives in Southern California. She is an alumna of California College of the Arts, where she obtained her B.A. in Writing and Literature. Her current work revolves around insurance guides and informational articles. She truly enjoys helping others learn more about everyday, practical matters through her work.

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent

UPDATED: Nov 21, 2020

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Within minutes of having an alcoholic beverage, the alcohol is already making its way through your stomach and into your bloodstream. This process is making it unlikely that you will be able to drive safely. Often, long before you feel too drunk to drive, you have already passed the legal – and safe – blood alcohol count.

Drinking and driving can be extremely dangerous, and this is especially true for teen drivers who are relatively new to driving and already get in accidents at a rate that is four times higher than that of adults. However, it is not just drinking that can cause impairment and affect your driving. Illegal drugs, some prescription medications, and even just being too tired to focus can all lead to accidents, injuries, and fatalities.

While we all know about laws against driving while intoxicated, there are also laws that apply to the other types of impaired driving as well.

Statistics

  • Ten percent of high school students drink and drive.
  • One-fifth of students in high school say that they have been in a car with a drunk driver in the past month.
  • While teen drivers are less likely to drink and drive than adults are, the risk of crashing is still substantially higher, even with a blood alcohol level that is low or moderate.
  • If you have been awake for 18 hours or more, your level of impairment will match that of someone with a blood alcohol content of 0.08, a level at which you would be considered to be legally intoxicated.
  • Drivers between the ages of sixteen and twenty are seventeen times more likely to die in a car crash when their blood alcohol content is 0.08 as opposed to if they had not been drinking. That is a substantial difference.
  • Parental involvement can help to reduce the risk of teen drunk driving.

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Dangers of Drunk and Impaired Driving

Driving while impaired can reduce your judgment abilities, as well as reaction times and awareness, which will reduce your ability to drive safely. Twenty percent of teens who have been involved in a fatal car accident had alcohol in their blood at the time. The majority of them thought they would be able to drive without getting in a crash.

Do not forget that driving while sleep deprived can be just as bad as driving while drunk. Your ability to concentrate on the road is reduced by fatigue. Your reaction time becomes slower and there is a serious risk of falling asleep – even just for a fraction of a second – and losing control of the vehicle.

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Consequences of Drunk and Impaired Driving

Injury, damage to a vehicle, loss of life, causing someone else to lose their life, unexpected expenses, and lawsuits are among some of the consequences of driving while intoxicated or impaired.

In addition to accidents that may kill passengers, pedestrians, other drivers, and the impaired driver; driving when you should not be can also lead to being arrested, going to court, paying fines and legal costs, the loss of your license, and potentially spending time in jail.

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Drunk and Impaired Driving Prevention

  • Know the law, including what is considered impaired driving, how much alcohol is too much to drive legally, and what the legal consequences of drinking and driving are. Remember, drunk driving laws may be tougher on younger drivers.
  • Arrange for a carpool or group transportation when you are planning a group trip, such as the prom, a concert, or sporting event with friends.
  • Choose a designated driver if you are planning on drinking and make sure that person sticks with your plan.
  • Have someone you can contact, such as a parent, sober friend, or even a taxi, who you can call for a ride if it is not safe for you to drive.
  • Have a friend you trust hide your car keys if they feel you are too intoxicated.
  • Learn effective ways to turn down an alcoholic beverage or drugs.
  • Pull over in a safe location and stop the car if you discover that you are too tired or impaired to drive when you are already behind the wheel.

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Resources for Students and Teens

Would you like to know more facts about how drugs and alcohol can affect your driving? Do you want to learn more about drunk driving and what you can do to stay safe?

Check out the following resources for more information on what you can do to make sure that you, as well as your friends, avoid the dangers of driving while intoxicated.

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Resources for Parents

Do you want to talk to your teen about intoxicated and impaired driving but do not know how to start the conversation? Remember, having involved parents can reduce the risk of drinking and driving in teens. You can make a difference.

Visit the following resources for advice and ideas.

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