The following excerpt is re-printed from a bulletin of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. The bulletin addresses the risks of teen-age drunk driving in Louisiana and reviews some sobering statistics. The bullentin was released the last week of July 2011. I think it is worth a read:
“If you are a teenager or the parent of one, you need to be aware that driving is a potentially risky activity, especially when alcohol is involved. In fact, vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among young people. In Louisiana, 85 people ages 15 to 20 were killed in crashes last year, with 38 percent of those having been involved in an alcohol-related crash.
With summer vacation time winding down, some teenagers may be in the mood for a final fling before they return to school. Young people often seem to be carefree and don’t always think through the consequences of engaging in risky activities such as drinking and driving. Although 21 is the legal drinking age in Louisiana and other states, it is obvious that underage drinking is not an unusual occurrence. Some of the statistics in this regard may shock you. Nationally, 22 percent of eighth graders report drinking monthly. According to a study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, young people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21.
Drunken driving is dangerous for anyone but especially so for teenagers who have less experience behind the wheel and can often be prone to engaging in risky behavior. While this is a problem for both boys and girls, it is considerably more serious for boys. Last year 25 male drivers ages 15-20 died in alcohol-related crashes in Louisiana, while eight female drivers in that age group were killed in such crashes.
While the statistics involving young drivers are sad, we are seeing great improvement in these numbers. The rate of teenage drivers involved in fatal crashes in Louisiana has declined substantially over the past four years. We’ve also experienced declines in crash fatalities for people of all ages. There are a variety of reasons that many lives are being saved on our state’s highways; among these are greater safety awareness by motorists, highways and vehicles that are engineered and constructed with increased attention to safety, and stepped up enforcement of traffic laws.
The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission will continue to provide educational outreach to teens and their parents; however, it is a responsibility we share with law enforcement, educators, parents and the teens themselves. Whether you are a teenager or a parent of one, we encourage you to be extra cautious as summer vacations come to a close. Make certain that your end-of-summer celebrations don’t end in tragedy.”
Thus, we encourage parents and teens to be extermely vigilant as Summer draws to a close. In the event you are arrested for DWI or other alcohol related offense, please call our offices for assistance.