Study: Teens admit to drinking and driving on New Year's Eve

There's No Substitute for Experience

A nationwide study recently found a rather disturbing statistic: Not only are more parents becoming tolerant of underage drinking, but a number of high school students have admitted to driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs on New Year's Eve. This, of course, puts other Tennessee drivers in direct danger of getting into a car accident caused by a drunk driver.

The study was conducted by Students Against Destructive Decisions and Liberty Mutual Insurance. More than 1,700 students were asked questions pertaining to drunk driving, drinking in front of their parents and being allowed to go to parties were it is known alcohol is being served.

In terms of drinking and driving, one in 10 admitted to driving on the New Year's Eve going into 2012 under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Close to 40 percent of the students also reported being allowed to drink in front of their parents and another 47 percent said their parents allow them to go to parties were alcohol is being served.

These statistics point to a trend of parents being more tolerant of their underage children drinking. Many might be taking a “been there, done that” mentality with their children, which can actually be quite harmful in terms of decision making -- especially when it comes to drinking and driving.

Every year in the U.S. roughly 3,000 teenagers are killed in motor vehicle-related accidents. A third of those accidents involve alcohol. And, aside from the possibility of these drunk teenagers killing themselves in accidents, there is also always the chance that another innocent driver will end up being killed in an accident caused by a teenager who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The hope is that going forward parents will play a more active role in talking with their children about the dangers of not only drinking, but drinking and driving.

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