Specific risk factor increases likelihood of teen DUIs

Parents and teens, an important new study has been released that you should all be aware of. This study indicates that teens are more likely to drive under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription drugs that cause impairment after they have been exposed to similar behavior. Specifically, if teens ride in vehicles as passengers while a peer or an adult drives while impaired, they will become more likely to engage in similar behavior.

The government funded this study in an effort to better understand and to ultimately prevent drunk driving accidents. The study, which was recently published in the journal Pediatrics, suggests that teens become increasingly likely to engage in DUI behavior when they are exposed to such behavior as a passenger earlier and more frequently over the course of their young lives.

This means that as a parent, if you know that your child has been exposed to this kind of behavior it is important to counter the message that driving while impaired is at all acceptable. Teens, if you have been exposed to this behavior you may need to wrestle with the idea that driving while impaired is at all safe or okay.

The fact of the matter is that too many individuals die on American roads every day that passes as a result of impaired drivers. Children and teens tend to emulate behaviors they have witnessed others engaging in. However, it is critical that teens resist the urge to mimic individuals they have witnessed driving while impaired for their own safety and for the safety of those around them.

Source: USA Today, “Riding with impaired drivers increases teens’ DWI risk,” Michelle Healy, March 17, 2014

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