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Good news on teen drinking and driving statistics

The age of 21 is considered to be old enough to legally drink, but driving while under the influence of alcohol at any age is illegal and could result in serious ramifications for Athens residents. This is even truer for underage folks who are caught driving under the influence. However, a new report suggests that fewer underage drivers are choosing to make this mistake.

A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that fewer underage drivers are getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol compared to previous years. Although this is certainly good news for other motorists, the CDC said that it is still concerned about the number of folks who choose to drive after drinking too much alcohol as well as the number of teens who continue to drink alcohol illegally.

The CDC's newest findings suggest teens are getting serious about being safer behind the wheel and avoiding underage DUI charges. This is good news, considering motor vehicle crashes are still the leading cause of death among U.S. teens. Over 2,000 teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 are killed each year in car accidents, and many of the fatal accidents are alcohol-related.

The CDC's 2011 study reveals that 10.3 percent of teens have driven after drinking. However, a 1991 study revealed that 22.3 percent of teens admitted to drinking and driving. This is a significant improvement.

The data was gathered from a national survey of high school students. While a 20-year span seems like a long stretch when comparing data, positive changes have been made more recently as well. These changes are credited in part to the drinking age being raised to 21 in all 50 states and zero tolerance laws that make it illegal for teens to have any amount of alcohol in their system while driving.

Source: CNN, "CDC: Teen drinking and driving rates cut in half," Ann J. Curley, Oct. 2, 2012

  • Our firm provides counsel to those who want to fight underage DUI charges or other alcohol-related offenses after an arrest. To learn more about our firm and practice, please visit our Athens, Georgia, student offenses page.