Even on their own, teenage drivers are already high-risk group for motor vehicle accidents but what happen when teens are also drinking and driving? The result – as much as 40 percent of all alcohol-related fatal car crashes involve teens.
Despite the fact that it is prohibited to sell alcoholic beverages to teens and minors, there are many teenagers who are still exposed to alcohol. Here are some alarming statistics from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:
- For children and adolescents, alcohol is their drug of choice
- 1 out of 4 teens under 18 years old is exposed to alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence in the family
- It is estimated that daily, 7000 children in the U.S. under the age of 16 take their first drink
While teens are less likely to drink and drive than adults, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, teen drivers under the influence of alcohol are more likely to crash. Since alcohol is an anti-depressant that can lower inhibitions and decrease decision making skills or ability to make safe judgments, alcohol along with a teenager’s inexperience in driving as well as immaturity and natural recklessness can certainly lead to a car accident.
Legal Liability for Accidents and Injury
Under the law, while teens are considered minors, they can still be held liable for an alcohol-related car accident. If such accident resulted to injury or death, there are instances where they may even be convicted of vehicular manslaughter or murder depending on the gravity of the accident.
Liability of Parents
In terms of civil injury liability, as teens are not expected to have any assets or property, their parents may be held liable in case of a personal injury lawsuit or a car accident claim. Parents with foresight can avoid incurring heavy financial losses in case of an accident caused by their teen driver by increasing their liability insurance coverage.
But of course, simply being prepared to face alcohol-related accidents involving teenagers is not enough, especially if you truly care about your teen’s future.
Most adults with drinking problems have developed their alcoholism at the age of 19 however, studies show that parents who take the time to talk to their teens about alcohol can be spared. Allegedly, 42 percent of teens whose parents talked to them about alcohol and drugs or set a good example of not drinking and driving are less likely to use those substances.
Preventing teen drunk driving accidents is better than just thinking such reckless behavior is a part of their youth. For more questions on alcohol-related accidents involving teen drivers, see an auto accident attorney.