The CDC released a new report this week that will likely surprise many parents.
Using the 1991-2011 national Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (YRBS), the CDC, in the report, "Vital Signs: Drinking and Driving Among High School Students Aged ≥16 Years -- United States, 1991-2011," found that "one in 10 students aged ≥16 years reported driving after drinking during the past 30 days."
On the bright side, that's a 54% decline from previous rates of 22%. Unfortunately though, most of those teens who drink and drive also binge drink, which might help explain why 20% of older teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had a positive blood alcohol level.
States with the highest rates of teen drinking and driving included Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, North Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming, but much of the upper Midwest, most states along the Gulf Coast, and Montana, Wyoming, and New Mexico, also had high levels of teen drinking and driving.
Although progress is being made to reduce teen drinking and driving, this report should serve as a good reminder that it is still fairly common. Since these teens who drink and drive are a big risk to their passengers and other people on the road, in addition to themselves, it is important to talk to your kids about drinking, and especially about drinking and driving.
You should also create a parent-teen driving agreement, including not drinking and driving and helping your teen avoid other hazards, such as by obeying all of the rules of the road, not using a cell phone while driving, and always wearing a seat belt, etc.
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