They know it’s the most dangerous night of the year for drinking and driving, yet they do it anyway. According to a recent survey conducted by Liberty Mutual and Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD), teenagers are more likely to drink and drive on New Year’s Eve despite a common belief in the extreme perils of driving on that night.
The survey is especially alarming in light of an Allstate report released earlier this month, which found that more teenagers are dying in Texas auto wrecks than any other state. According to the report, 556 teens died in car accidents throughout the state in 2009.
The report stated that Texas needed to take action to tighten restrictions on teen driving.
Texas has been steadily working on stronger restrictions. In 2002, they started a graduated licensing program that restricted teens’ driving privileges during their first year holding a license. Teens were not allowed to drive between midnight and 5 a.m. and they could only have one person under the age of 21 in the car with them who was not related.
In 2009, the legislature added further restrictions in an effort to eliminate the number of distracted driving accidents caused by teens. A new law barred any teen driver from talking on a cell phone or texting until they turned 18. In addition, the training time required for new drivers was increased almost three-fold.
Allstate proposes changing the age of obtaining a learner’s permit until age 16 and not allowing a teen to have full driving privileges until they reach 18. While the debate about just what measures need to be taken to reduce teen fatalities in car accidents there is encouraging news from the Liberty Mutual/SADD study.
The study found that teens were highly influenced by their peers and if a passenger asked them not to drive drunk, they would likely stop. Parents are encouraged to talk to their children about the dangers of driving while intoxicated (DWI) during New Year’s and how to speak up if their friends are trying to drive impaired. In addition, preventing Dallas DWI car wrecks means talking with teens about how to deal with others who might be drunk on the roads.
Source: www.insurancenetworking.com, “More Teens Drink, Drive on New Year’s Eve Than Any Other Holiday,” 28 December 2011, Pat Speer
www.kxan.com, “More Texas Teens Die in Traffic Wrecks,” 12 December 2011, Erin Cargile