Mock DUI Event Shows Teens Danger of Drinking and Driving
High school proms and graduations can be the most memorable times of a person’s life. Unfortunately, teenagers may be tempted to celebrate with alcoholic beverages, which can lead to drinking and driving – and tragic car crashes.
To demonstrate the dangers of driving under the influence, Vero Beach High School in Florida held its 18th annual mock DUI scenario recently. The event was sponsored by Vero Beach High Students Against Drunk Driving/Drug Abuse Resistance Education.
In a staged scene, teenagers dressed for the prom watched in seeming agony as police and firefighters pulled the “bodies” of students from wrecked cars next to the school. Organizers say the event will be a success if it persuades just one student not to drink and drive.
Too often, teens believe they are invincible, and when they mix drinking and driving, the results can change the lives of friends and families forever.
Car accidents and vehicle collisions are the leading cause of teenage deaths in the United States. Some 2,700 teens ages 16-19 died in wrecks and nearly 282,000 were treated for injuries sustained in crashes in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Oklahoma in 2012, 289 drivers ages 19 and under were involved in crashes after drinking alcohol. Of those drivers, 11 were killed and 80 were involved in serious injury crashes, according to the 2012 Crash Facts Book published by the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office.
Per mile driven, teenage drivers ages 16 to 19 are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than motorists age 20 and older.
Not only do teen drivers underestimate the danger of situations, they are more likely to speed and allow shorter distances between their vehicle and the one ahead, according to the CDC. Thirty-nine percent of male drivers between 15 and 20 involved in fatal wrecks in 2010 were speeding and 25 percent were impaired by alcohol.
At every level of blood-alcohol concentration, teens are more likely to be involved in a crash than older drivers. They’re also less likely to wear a seatbelt. In 2010, more than half of young drivers killed in a crash after drinking weren’t buckled up.
The CDC points out that graduated driver’s license programs give teens more time to mature behind the wheel and suggests that they can prevent teenage drinking and driving. It points to community prevention services as another way to stop impaired driving by teens, but it says parental involvement could be the key to stopping teens from drinking and driving.
Vero Beach High School’s mock DUI scenario probably opened teens’ eyes to what could happen if they drink and get behind the wheel. The attorneys of Burch, George & Germany encourage parents to discuss the dangers of impaired driving with their teens to ensure that their proms and graduations are among the most memorable times of their lives, not the saddest.
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