SAN JOSE, CA, March 16, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- A recent study has good news about teen drinking and driving. According to data released recently by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teen drinking and driving has plummeted by 54 percent nationwide since 1991. Unfortunately, as one risky behavior has decreased, another has popped up. Distracted driving, often from texts, e-mails and smartphones, is on the rise.
Drinking and Driving Down
The CDC study on teen drinking and driving incorporated self-reported data obtained through National Youth Risk Behavior Surveys as well as the results of toxicology reports from fatal teen drunk driving accidents across the country.
In 1991, according to the study, more than 1 in 5 high school students age 16 or older had engaged in drunk driving during the previous 30 days. In 2011, just over 1 in 10 reported doing so, the survey found. While the results are encouraging, it is clear that there is still a great deal of work to be done when it comes to preventing drunk driving among teens.
Though 90 percent of teens surveyed say they never drink and drive, that still leaves nearly one million teens that do. As reported by TIME, the CDC director said the report indicates progress "in the right direction, but we have to keep up the momentum."
Several factors are believed to be at play in the substantial decline in drunk driving among U.S. teens over the past two decades. According to the CDC, these include:
- Laws increasing the minimum drinking age to 21 in all 50 states
- Widespread adoption of graduated licensing laws for young drivers, which limit nighttime driving and impose passenger restrictions on teens
- Stricter zero-tolerance in every state making it illegal for those under age 21 to drive with any amount of alcohol in their system
Another significant factor cited by the CDC is an attitude shift among the nation's teen drivers. Compared to the past, the risks of drunk driving are more widely recognized, making it far less socially acceptable to drink and drive.
Texting While Driving Up
Unfortunately, the good news about teen drinking and driving is tempered by some bad news in another area: distracted driving. According to a recent National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 58 percent of high school seniors and 43 percent of high school seniors reported texting or emailing while driving during the previous month - despite laws prohibiting the practice in 39 states and Washington, D.C.
In California, texting on handheld devices is prohibited for all drivers, but a law passed earlier this year permits experienced drivers to send and receive text messages with the use of a hands-free device beginning in January 2013. Novice drivers are barred from cellphone use of any kind while driving.
With texting and driving at an all-time high, cellphone use is the most common cause of distraction-related accidents
in California. Drivers under age 20 account for a bigger proportion of distracted driving crashes than any other age group, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that texting drivers are 23 times more likely to crash than drivers who are not distracted.
Regardless of whether driving under the influence, driving while distracted or simple inexperience causes an accident, when you or a loved one is injured in a crash with a teenage driver
, you have options. After a car accident, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in California to learn more.
Corsiglia McMahon and Allard, L.L.P. is a personal injury law firm based in San Jose, California. Visit us at www.cmalaw.net
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