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Restrictions on Teen Drinking and Driving Save Lives

Boy drinking behind the wheel

One of the top causes of death among teenagers is drunk driving accidents. In fact, alcohol is a factor in one in four motor vehicle accidents which results in a child, teen, or young adult being fatally injured. In a study looking at how laws affect the rates of teen fatalities in alcohol-influenced car accidents, researchers have recently learned that the more restrictions are in place, the more teens stay alive on the road.

According to Boston University School of Medicine researcher Dr. Scott Hadland, drunk driving accidents resulting in teen deaths aren’t only caused by drunken teen drivers. He points out that about half of the alcohol-influenced crashes resulting in a teen death involve a drunk driver who is over the age of 21.

In order to determine what approaches work in fighting to limit teen death in drunk driving accidents, Hadland’s team of researchers crafted a study that compared the statewide rates of teen deaths in drunk driving accidents with the restrictiveness of the state’s laws governing alcohol use and teen driving. The researchers created a scoring system that would assign points based on laws such as those limiting the hours that teens can be out on the road and whether state laws permit teens to have friends under 21 in the car with them. Points would also be assigned for laws limiting when alcohol can be sold and how it could be advertised. States received a restrictiveness rating between 1 and 100.

According to the results of the study, for every additional 10 points in the state’s restrictiveness rating, teens had a 9% lower likelihood of being killed in a drunk driving accident. The study points out the importance of strong statewide laws on alcohol use and teen driving, but also illustrates the importance of parents sending a strong message on alcohol use to their teen drivers, including that they never get in a car with a drunk driver, whether they’re a teen or adult. Hadland also explained that “Parents might consider limiting the extent to which young people drive during late hours on weekends.” This is due to the fact that, Hadland explains, “the vast majority of people under the age of 21 dying in car crashes are dying in evenings, on weekends. It’s a high risk time to be out on the road.”

If you or someone you love has been injured in a motor vehicle accident in New Jersey, contact the seasoned, knowledgeable, and effective personal injury attorney Andrew R. Jacobs for a consultation on your case, at 973-532-9681.

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