For parents of teenagers, the early summer months are a busy time. Students are graduating, looking for summer jobs, and enjoying time off with their friends. This is likely to translate into additional time spent driving compared to what they typically do during the school year. As a result, teens can end up facing increased car accident risks, and drunk driving is a particular concern. As a parent, friend, or other loved one, it is important to talk to the teens in your life about these risks.
Teen Drunk Driving In Portland
According to traffic safety reports issued by the City of Portland, drunk driving accidents continue to be a major problem throughout our area. Despite the aggressive efforts of law enforcement officials in apprehending impaired drivers, alcohol remains a contributing factor in more than half of all fatal crashes and collisions.
Teen drivers are at particular risk for these accidents and endanger other drivers on the road. Teenagers already lack the maturity and experience behind the wheel that older drivers possess. Their natural tendency to overindulge when it comes to alcohol and the increased impact it has on their brain and body is a dangerous combination. Common impairments all intoxicated drivers tend to exhibit are often more pronounced in teens. These include:
- Vision disturbances, such as seeing double;
- Slowed reflexes and response times, which can prevent them from responding to unexpected events;
- Increased risk of distractions, particularly if there are others in the vehicle;
- Increased likelihood of blacking out or falling asleep behind the wheel, which is a common factor in fatal DUI collisions.
Talking to Teens About Drunk Driving
While it is natural for parents to think their teens are immune from common behaviors such as underage drinking, it is far more common than most people think. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that while only one out of every ten teens admit to driving under the influence, the actual number is far greater.
The CDC estimates that roughly one million teenagers engage in drunk driving each year. As a parent, it is important for you to inform them of the risks. Teens are already more than three times more likely to be killed in a fatal accident than older drivers and alcohol only increases these odds. Steps you can take to protect them include
- Make a ‘no blame’ agreement, where they will call you instead of getting behind the wheel or before riding with someone else who is intoxicated.
- Limit the amount of time they spend driving at night, which is when teen drunk driving accidents are more likely to occur.
- Be aware of places where they are most likely to engage in underage drinking.
- Model good behavior by avoiding drinking and driving yourself.
Contact Us Today for Help
At the Johnston Law Firm, we see the devastating effects drunk driving can have on teens, their family members, and others on the road. When these types of crashes do occur, we are here to help. Call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Portland car accident attorneys online today to request a consultation.