Part 3: Alcohol
The potentially catastrophic effects of driving under the influence of alcohol are well known among all age groups – but it’s especially critical to grasp the reality of this concern for teen drivers. Teens may not be legally old enough to drink, but peer pressure and curiosity will naturally tempt many kids into experimentation, in many cases with tragic results. This article will take a look at the facts behind teenage driving and provide some suggestions for how parents can help their teen drivers in Central Texas to stay safe.
Alcohol adds serious roadblocks to safe driving, especially for younger and less experienced drivers. At any age, alcohol can reduce depth perception and peripheral vision, impair awareness and alertness, and slow reaction times. The fact that teens have limited practical experience on the road may help to explain why the crash risks for impaired teens are almost twice those of impaired adults. The drunk driving fatality rate for drivers under 21 has ballooned by 68 percent since 1991.
Parents can reduce the alcohol-related risks for their teen drivers in a number of ways. First and foremost, teens must be educated on the effects of alcohol on judgment, reaction time, and other crucial factors in driver safety. Teens must understand that they can always contact their parents for a sober ride home without fear of negative consequences. This strategy is preferable to simply having a designated driver for an entire vehicle full of teens since multiple intoxicated passengers are likely to present a distracted driving risk for that driver. The availability of alcohol-free parties and parent-chaperoned gatherings can help to ensure that teens can enjoy themselves without drinking, facilitating a safer ride home.