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Many accidents are caused by underage drinkers

Among those most at risk of getting in an alcohol-related crash, younger drivers are at the top of the list.
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    February 13, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Many accidents are caused by underage drinkers

Despite strict laws against drunk driving in every state, driving while intoxicated remains a problem in the U.S., killing almost 30 people every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In 2012 in New York, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 344 people killed in alcohol-related crashes that involved drivers with a blood alcohol content over .08 percent, the legal limit in our state.

Among those most at risk of getting in an alcohol-related crash, younger drivers are at the top of the list. Many underage drivers are influenced by their peers and can make decisions they would not have made on their own. Also, they may not have the experience or knowledge to realize how dangerous drunk driving is, or even that drinking just a small amount can negatively impact their driving.

Nearly everyone knows that above the legal BAC limit of .08 percent, driving and concentration are seriously impaired. Even at .08, drivers experience lessened judgment, reasoning and control. However, studies have shown that a blood alcohol content of just .02 percent can result in loss of judgment and a decline in the ability to perform more than one task at a time, which can be very dangerous in a driving situation that requires quick decisions.

Underage drivers' decisions can have long-term effects on their friends and families

Young drivers may also not consider the effects their decisions can have on others, especially if their common sense has been affected by drinking. For example, the Shelter Island Reporter related an incident in October, in which a 17-year-old Brooklyn girl crashed into a tree in Silver Beach. Two of her passengers were seriously injured, and the girl was charged with a DWI. Even in single-vehicle accidents, the families of those injured may decide to pursue legal action against the driver who caused the accident.

Before their children start driving, parents will want to educate them on the dangers of drinking and driving, and on how dangerous it is to get in a vehicle with a person who has been drinking. Even more experienced drivers would do well to remember the following tips about making safe drinking decisions:
-Call a friend, family member or taxi for a ride home.
-Don't let friends drive off after drinking; take their keys.
-Before going out, designate a non-drinking driver.
-Be a good host; offer non-alcoholic drinks as an option, and ensure guests don't drive if they're intoxicated.

When drunk driving laws are enforced, not only are deaths and injuries prevented, but drivers can avoid harsher penalties, such as heavy fines and prison time if they continue to drive drunk and hurt someone. If you or a family member has been hurt by a drunk driver, you may be entitled to the compensation of your medical bills and other damages. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer for help.

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