Since 1998, a biannual survey of Massachusetts high school students has been conducted to learn more about the risks that young kids face. This year's survey revealed that many teens are drinking despite the fact that they are underage. This news is cause for concern for parents since drunk teens who gets behind the wheel present significant risk to themselves and others. Mothers Against Drunk Driving has identified the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day as the deadliest 100 days of the year for teen drivers.
Our Boston personal injury attorneys know that a teen who has even a drink or two may be affected by the alcohol and may not be able to drive safely. Alcohol coupled with driver inexperience is a dangerous combination. Parents need to be aware that many teens are drinking and should do everything possible to help ensure that their kids don't drive drunk.
Teen Drunk Driving A Concern in Massachusetts
According to the Harvard Press, the Massachusetts Youth Risk Survey asks teens questions about violence, suicide, stress, tobacco, drug and alcohol use, and HIV/AIDS education among other topics. Students in several school districts completed the survey, including kids in grade six and in grades eight through twelve. Parents were informed of the survey prior to it being administered so kids whose parents objected did not complete the questions.
The survey is anonymous, so while some kids may answer dishonestly, there is not a strong incentive for kids to be dishonest. As such, one local principal responding to parental concerns about whether the results were accurate indicated that the survey should be taken seriously despite the fact that there is some room for error.
Parents who learn the results of the survey and who do take it seriously have plenty of cause for concern. As many as 63 percent of seniors from one local area school district admitted to drinking alcohol this spring. Further, an average of 35 percent of all kids in grades nine through 12 said they had used alcohol.
Marijuana use was also very common, according to the survey. A total of 40 percent of students in grade twelve admitted to recent marijuana use, while an average of 22 percent of all students in grades nine to twelve said that they had tried marijuana.
Teens who use either alcohol or marijuana are at risk of engaging in many different types of dangerous behaviors. Unfortunately, one of the biggest risks comes from teens who drink or smoke and then drive.
Teens rarely drink in their own homes and then stay there. In fact, the Harvard Press reported on several recent incidents where kids were intoxicated at school dances. These teens had to get to and from the dance somehow, and there is a chance they may have driven drunk to do so.
Because drunk driving is so risky, parents need to be aware of the high percentage of kids who report drinking. Parents should do everything possible to prevent drunk driving including setting clear rules about alcohol use; monitoring where children are and whether they are at parties where alcohol is being served; and offering to be the designated driver if need be in order to prevent a teen from driving drunk or getting into a car with someone who has had too much to drink.
If you've been injured, call 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for a free consultation with one of the personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone.