Today’s teenage drivers have grown up with messages about the dangers of drunk driving and most young people seem to recognize that driving while impaired is something they are never supposed to do. Yet, Forbes reported on a recent survey indicating that most teens are worse than adults in terms of knowing when they’ve had too much such that it became unsafe to drive.
A spokesperson for Liberty Mutual in Boston indicated that for teens: “there’s a tremendous misunderstanding what it means to be under the influence.” As many as one out of every 10 teens say they “never” drive drunk but they acknowledge that they do sometimes drive after consuming one or more alcoholic beverages. Zero tolerance laws say that people under the age of 21 are in violation of drunk driving laws if they have had any alcohol at all. Boston drunk driving lawyers can help victims of drunk driving collisions to take legal action against teen drivers who have been drinking even if those teens aren’t over the legal limit.
Teens Fail to Understand the True Meaning of Drunk Driving
Even though most teens agree driving drunk is never OK, many teens think it takes way more to get drunk than it actually does. For example, 68 percent of teens who admitted to driving after consuming alcohol said that at least they “rarely” drove after drinking “more than three” alcoholic beverages. Many teenagers seem to believe that as long as they can walk to their vehicles without falling down, they are not actually under the influence. This lack of understanding is described as the “biggest disconnect” between teens and adults on the issue of drunk driving.
Teens not only have a different definition of “impaired” than most adults do, but they also have a different definition of what it means to be a “designated driver.” For most adults, a designated driver is someone who has made the commitment to stay 100 percent sober and not have anything to drink over the course of the night. For teens, on the other hand, a designated driver is sometimes simply defined as the most sober person within the group of young people. A person who is “basically sober” or who has just a little bit to drink could be considered a designated driver for teenagers.
The lack of a common definition of drunk driving among adults and teens raises questions about how exactly to make young people understand how dangerous intoxicated driving is. Knowing they should have a designated driver is clearly not enough to keep them safe from impaired driving risks unless they know exactly what behaviors should be avoided when it comes to alcohol and operating a vehicle.
One possible solution to the different ideas of drunk driving between teens and adults may be a parent-teen driving contract. These types of contracts can go into more details about specific behaviors that are prohibited and specific consequences of breaking the rules. These contracts can open up a dialogue with young people and can help them to question whether their idea of “drunk” is actually an accurate one.
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More Blog Entries:
NHTSA Urges Ignition Interlock Devices for all Drunk Driving Offenders, Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog, December 28, 2013