Although early estimates by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the 2010 traffic fatalities are down by approximately three percent, the number of people who died in automobile crashes still totals over 32,700 people that year. The fatality rate in fact, is projected to decline to the lowest on record for 2010, to 1.13 fatalities for every million vehicle miles traveled. These statistics sound promising but if you are a parent of a teen or young adult driver, the picture isn’t quite as encouraging.

In 2008, the NHTSA found that car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and that one out of every three of those deaths is alcohol-related. More significantly, teen alcohol use and abuse kills about 6,000 people each year, more than the total caused by all illegal drugs combined.

However, the NHTSA found that a young driver having an accident after drinking isn’t the only thing his or her family should be concerned about. When a young driver drinks, it is often true that the accident is far more severe than an accident caused by a young, non-drinking driver. Which means a much greater chance of a fatality.

An examination of 2008 statistics tells the story:

That year, only two percent of the drivers under 21 years of age who were involved in property-damage-only crashes had been drinking.

Four percent of those involved in crashes resulting in injury had been drinking.

But a whopping twenty-two percent of those involved in fatal crashes had been drinking.

When alcohol affects your own family, it is often very personal and the result of not dealing with this issue can be devastating. The question becomes “How do I prevent my own child or his friends from driving when drinking? How do I prevent or stop him or her from drinking at all? What do I do to educate my child to protect him from drunk drivers?”

If you think your teen or young adult is involved in drinking, particularly binge drinking (defined as five or more drinks at one sitting), start off by talking to them. Make it clear that you are concerned about their safety and the safety of their friends and associates. Ensure that they know the impairment that can be caused by even a little drinking (buzzed drinking and driving still kills).

Cover this point too: They should never allow someone else who has been drinking to drive. Also make sure your child knows that it is safe to call for a ride home at any time of the day or night. This one point alone could save his or her life.

If you think he is already drinking excessively, he may need to go to an effective drug and alcohol Narconon program. Narconon has been successfully helping drug and alcohol addicts with its drug free methods for forty-five years in 50 countries around the world.

For more information about Narconon and its effective alcohol rehab  program, call today.


Resources:

Traffic Fatalities in 2010 Drop to Lowest Level in Recorded History, A Press Release, from Ê NHTSA 05-11, Friday, April 1, 2011, DOT Estimates Three Percent Drop Beneath 2009 Record Low, http://www.nhtsa.gov/PR/NHTSA-05-11

(Hingson and Kenkel, 2003) Full cite: Hingson, Ralph and D. Kenkel. “Social and Health Consequences of Underage Drinking.” In press. As quoted in Institute of Medicine National Research Council of the National Academies. Bonnie, Richard J. and Mary Ellen O’Connell, eds. Reducing Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2003.

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