Magana Cathcart & McCarthy

Greater Restrictions on Drinking Can Reduce Teen Driving Deaths, Study Finds

Lady drinking wine while driving

If you have teen drivers in the home, you know that car accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers. Sometimes, the risks teens face on the road are a result of their own choices. To prevent serious or fatal injury both to teen drivers and others on the road, lawmakers and researchers are continually in search of the best combination of policies and practices that will discourage unsafe teen driving. Preventing teen alcohol use while driving is of particular interest, since alcohol plays a role in 50% of all motor vehicle fatalities among those under age 21.

The journal Pediatrics recently published a study looking at the effect of various policies restricting drinking among teens working in concert, rather than the effectiveness of just one law or rule in isolation. The study accounted for the effect of laws such as the allowed density of stores or restaurants selling alcohol, taxes imposed on alcohol sales, and laws on where liquor could be sold, as well as laws on licensing teen drivers, such as curfews and graduated licensing.

The study showed that the more restrictions there were in place limiting teen drinking and driving, both in public and in the home, the fewer teens died on the road in alcohol-related accidents. According to the lead researcher on the project, Dr. Scott Hadland, it isn’t just one or two policies that makes a difference in saving teen lives: “it’s really the collection of them all that seems to be effective,” he remarked. That said, Dr. Hadland pointed out that curfew laws hold a great deal of potential to curb teen deaths in alcohol-influenced crashes. According to Dr. Hadland, “the vast majority of people under the age of 21 dying in car crashes are dying in evenings, on weekends. It’s a high risk time to be out on the road.”

Not only do public laws affect teen safety on the road, but the way that parents use alcohol in the home has a substantial effect on teen behavior, as well. Another researcher involved in the recent study, Dr. Tim Naimi, explained, “what parents do — the way they drink and whether they drink at all — is more important than what they might say about alcohol.”

If you or someone you love has been injured by a drunken driver in California, find out if you may have a claim for money damages based on the accident by contacting the seasoned and knowledgeable Los Angeles car accident lawyers at Magaña, Cathcart & McCarthy for a consultation on your case, at 310-553-6630.

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