A startling number of Bucks County auto accidents that involve teens also involve alcohol, according to statistics collected by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). These statistics follow a statewide trend that shows that an increasing number of teens are involved in accidents were driving under the influence (DUI). These statistics have PA lawmakers and parents worried. Bucks County personal injury lawyer Michael L. Saile, Jr. reminds us that anyone driving drunk not only puts themselves at risk, but everyone else on our local roads, including other motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists.
The Frightening Statistics
“Of particular concern is the involvement of drinking drivers under the age of 21,” says PennDOT. This is because 31% (1/3), of the drivers aged 16-20 who made the decision to drive while under the influence of alcohol died in a PA auto accident in 2010. This number shows an increase over 2009. Nationwide, it is also true that the leading cause of death for American teens is auto accidents. Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a dangerous and illegal activity. It is especially dangerous for teens, as national statistics show that 28% of teenagers who are killed in car accidents consume alcohol either before or while driving. Additionally, an alarming percentage of teenagers who drive under the influence do not wear seat belts, leaving them even more vulernable to harm.
There are many reasons why teens drink and drive:
- peer pressure,
- new adventure,
- feeling of invincibility,
However, besides being illegal, the problem with teens drinking and driving is that they are inexperienced in both. They are commonly overconfident about their driving skills, which leads them to make risky decisions while behind the wheel. Combine this overconfidence with intoxication, and it’s no wonder teens contribute so much to Bucks County auto accidents. Teens’ confidence is often falsely boosted by drinking alcohol, so they may not realize that they are not capable of driving. Also, teens do not often rat out another teen who is drinking and driving to avoid being socially stigmatized.
Parents cannot prevent teen drinking, but they can educate their teens about the many dangers of drinking and driving, including the life long consequences of causing a fatal accident.
Parents can and should:
- Encourage teens never to drive after having a drink, even the slightest amount of alcohol, explaining how potent it can be;
- Be available for a ride home in case your son or daughter is ever stuck with a driver who has been drinking;
- Share news stories with your teen about the tragic loss of young lives that result from local drinking and driving accidents;
- Set a good example by never drinking and driving yourselves.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of another in a Bucks County drunk driving accident, contact the PA personal injury lawyers at Cordisco & Saile LLC for a FREE consultation. Get even more FREE legal advice and information by downloading a copy of our book, “How to Maximize Your PA Car Accident Case Before an Insurance Company Takes Advantage of You.”