Claiming the keys of their first car or even getting their license is a big step for every teenager. They instantly get this feeling of independence and maturity. But before they hand their kids the keys, parents should be knowledgeable of the dangers a teenager may face when they’re behind the wheel, that driving is one of the leading causes of death among their age group. Most of these deaths stem from wrong decisions—like deciding to drive even when intoxicated.
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Teenagers are strictly prohibited by the law from drinking alcohol. But it is an unfortunate reality that many of them have easy access to these beverages nowadays. To add to that, teens give in to peer pressure, and the need to fit in feels enormous at that age. It is not just alcohol use that is alarming, but drug abuse is rampant as well.
Why Is Alcohol a Danger for Drivers
In the United States, driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% is considered illegal. They have significantly reduced the legal rate for younger drivers and have banned alcohol consumption among teenagers altogether.
Drinking alcohol and driving is a lethal combination, and those who choose to do both at the same time are giving themselves a death sentence. The first step in making yourself aware of this danger is to find out how it works.
Alcohol is identified as a depressant drug, meaning it slows down certain parts of your body particularly the ones in the central nervous system. The brain in particular is unable to process normal thoughts when hit with a significant amount of alcohol. Some of the effects on the body include blurry vision, impaired judgement, slurred speech, inability to react on time, and even disturbed perceptions. All of these raise the teen’s chance of getting into accident higher. Think of how slow the body would react when on the highway or how this leaves your senses completely uncoordinated. Yet as many as 85 percent of teens have admitted on binge-drinking, an activity that involves downing five or more alcoholic drinks every hour.
It should be noted that some drinks have higher alcohol content than the others. So teens and even adults need to be well informed on which are completely hazardous for the body especially when taken in large amount. Here is the complete list according to Drug-Free World:
Cider—4 to 8% alcohol
Wine—8 to 20% alcohol
Rum—40% or more alcohol
Brandy—40% or more alcohol
Gin—40 to 47% alcohol
Whiskey—40 to 50% alcohol
Vodka—40 to 50% alcohol
Liqueurs—15 to 60% alcohol
Statistics on Alcohol-Related Accidents
According to the CDC, drivers between the ages 16 and 20 are seventeen times more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash when they have a BAC more than the legal rate compared to when they have not been drinking at all. In fact, 45 percent of teen car crashes that happen every weekend are alcohol related. The numbers may have decreased over the years, but one out of ten high-school students still drink and drive nowadays, and 2.4 million of young drivers have done this dangerous practice each month.
To make matters worse, as many as 74 percent of the teens involved in these accidents were found not wearing a seat belt. Other statistics state that alcohol-related accidents are the leading cause of deaths for teens between the ages 14 and 17.
Being responsible is what all teen drivers should work on the hardest. Parents should monitor their children and take action to ensure their safety. A graduated driver licensing program is one of the most effective ways for teens to learn safe driving, but it should be noted that this may differ per state. The most effective part of the program is discussing with the young drivers the legal driving hours for teens and limiting the number of passengers. If the country you’re in does not have these laws, as parents, you can always set these rules along with their corresponding consequences if broken.
The law has zero tolerance policies for underage drinking, and a teen may face serious penalties when caught. Parents should explain how this can greatly impact their future as most college applications and even jobs now require a clean criminal record.
Another way to ensure safe driving for teenagers is to rely on modern-day technology. Parents can invest in a reliable GPS tracker that will inform them of their child’s whereabouts anytime, anywhere. This is particularly useful in emergency situations such as an accident. Trackimo, one of the leading products in the market, includes features such as a distress button that notifies dispatchers through its easy-to-use application.
When it comes to keeping teens safe behind the wheel, parental supervision is a must. It is best not to take any chances nowadays, especially in a generation where peer pressure is strong.