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Survey discovers some teens have troubling views on drinking and driving

Most teenagers eagerly await the day they receive a driver's license. Driving provides teens with a sense of independence and maturity. Having a drivers license, however, doesn't mean a teen is prepared to deal with or handle many of the challenges they may encounter while driving, one being impaired driving.

A recently survey conducted by the group Students Against Destructive Decisions and Liberty Mutual Insurance asked teens questions about their behaviors related to drinking and driving. While it's illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to consume an alcoholic beverage, underage drinking continues to be major health and safety problem.

For the survey, teens were asked several questions related to their use of alcohol in relation to driving a motor vehicle. The responses were alarming and show there's a disconnect with many teen drivers about both what constitutes as "impaired" driving and also a designated driver.

Almost 70 percent of teen respondents said that, after consuming at least three alcoholic beverages, they "rarely" drive. This information is troubling as after consuming more than three drinks a teen's blood alcohol content would likely be over the legal limit.

Additionally, of those teens who stated they don't drink and drive, ten percent admitted to sometimes driving after consuming alcohol. The survey also found teens are walking a dangerous line when it comes to their definition of a designated driver with many reporting they believe a person who is "basically" sober can serve as a designated driver.

In Rochester and cities and towns across the U.S., prom time is just around the corner followed by summer which are both times when many teens may drink. The responses of teens in this study indicate that many are engaging in very dangerous behaviors when it comes to drinking and driving.

Every year, teens are killed in car accidents in which alcohol was a factor. To prepare teen drivers and passengers to stay safe and alive when faced with drinking and driving situations, parents are encouraged to have honest and frank discussions with their sons and daughters. On way to initiate the conversation, is to ask a teen to sign a contract in which they promise not to drink and drive or get in a car with someone who has been drinking.

Source: Forbes, "Drunk Driving: Teens Talk The Talk, Don't Always Walk The Walk," Jim Henry, March 21, 2014.

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