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Teens drinking and driving less than before

Many people across the country, including Minnesota residents, typically think that drinking and driving is a behavior that can be attributed to teens and young adults, as these motorists are young, inexperienced, and do not take into account the dangers of impaired driving. Many thus assume that teen and young adult drivers are more likely to indulge in such behavior and the problem is only getting worse. However, studies show that the opposite is true. Overwhelming teenage and young adult drivers with the message that drunk driving is dangerous has worked, and the number of young adults and teenagers driving under the influence has gone down in recent years.

According to the survey published by the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, in 2014, 6.6 percent of people between the ages of 16 and 20 said they drank and drove, compared to 16.2 percent in 2002. In addition to this, the number of young adults engaging in this behavior has also dropped 38 percent from 2002 to 2014. This could be the result of a number of factors, including awareness and educational campaigns about the risks of drinking and driving.

Despite the reduction in numbers, the practice still exists to an alarming extent. Eighteen percent of adults between the age of 21 and 25 admitted to drinking and driving at least once in the past year, however they were not asked if they were drunk or impaired at the time. In 2013 alone, 2,163 teenagers died in auto accidents and 17 percent of teen drivers involved in crashes were drunk.

During the holiday season, it might be more likely that drivers, including teenage ones, are more likely to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol, increasing the likelihood of drunk driving fatal accidents. However, these, drivers should drink and drive responsibly by getting someone to drop them off at home or staying over at someone else's house. Doing so may save a few lives this holiday season.

Unfortunately, despite knowing the risks, many will still continue to drink and drive. If a Minnesota resident is injured in a drunk driving accident, or a family loses a loved one to such a wreck, then they may be able to hold the other party responsible for their damages through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

Source: MPR News, "This generation of teens is drinking and driving less," Angus Chen, Dec. 11, 2015

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