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Teenagers and Alcohol the Dangers of Drunk Driving

Updated on July 29, 2013

Sobriety Test

Officers performing a field sobriety test
Officers performing a field sobriety test | Source

Drunken Driving

Whenever we get behind the wheel of a vehicle we know that accidents are always a possibility. Many drivers try to be defensive and always pay attention to the other drivers, hazards, etc. while others aren’t as efficient in doing this.

One problem that has presented many dangerous situations is when a driver is impaired by the effects of drinking too much alcohol.

Drinking and driving has altered more lives than I think can even be counted if you factor in the impaired drivers and their possible victims. I can personally attest to this because my middle name is one of my mother’s old friends who was killed by a drunk driver, many years before I was born. Apparently my mom’s friend was on a freeway coming home and the drunk driver swerved across the stripped median and hit her head on, she never even had a chance to react. With her name a permanent part of mine I learned quickly why it was there.

Experienced drivers feel that they can have a few drinks and still operate a vehicle without any reduction in their abilities; unfortunately that is not always the case. If you have seen any of the police officer TV programs it won’t take long before you will see them deal with a drunk driver. Some of these people can’t even stand up correctly so you can see how difficult it would be for them to continue to operate their vehicle, safely, until they let their bodies purge out some of the alcohol in their system.

Teen Drivers

I remember when I first became a teenage driver. I was five days removed from my sixteenth birthday and just got my driver’s license. I can still recall how empowered I was with that piece of paper I had in my hand as I walked out of the California Department of Motor Vehicles office (DMV). Looking back on me then I was incredibly naive to feel as invincible as I did.

Teenage boys, excuse me young men, have a tendency to think that they cannot be harmed. Maybe that is why so many try out for the high school football team or are constantly hitting each other, just for fun; something my wife has yet to comprehend by the way.

This attitude can really get them in trouble when they drive because vehicles certainly have the potential to become deadly weapons if they are taken too lightly.

Experience is absolutely critical in becoming a safe driver and teenage drivers just don’t have enough real world practice under their belts yet, male or female. For example, how many times have you avoided a potentially dangerous situation because your experience told you it was unsafe? I know I have avoided countless scenarios because of what my years of driving have taught me. Teenage drivers don’t have this experience yet, so they might not evade something as quickly as a more seasoned driver would, since they don’t know it is a threat until it might be too late.

Alcohol Awareness

In addition to being an untested driver drinking can add to the issues facing a teenage driver. Of course drinking is illegal for teenagers here in the USA but I’m sure a very large percentage of them have drank something before their twenty-first birthday; I know I did growing up.

Here in California if a teenager gets pulled over, and the officers test them for alcohol and anything comes up regardless of the level, they will be in big trouble since they are too young to drink. What compounds this is that certain over the counter items like NyQuil and mouthwash have trace amounts of alcohol in them so using these products can even get you charged with driving under the influence. It is rare but with breathalyzers becoming even more sensitive there is always a small risk.

DUI Checkpoints

Vehicle checkpoint looking for impaired drivers
Vehicle checkpoint looking for impaired drivers | Source

Alcohol Underage Drinking

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Driving Under the Influence

It goes without saying that drunk driving is a very serious and dangerous thing. The risk to yourself and the others around you is immense and only bad things can come from driving drunk.

To add on top of the risks the penalties you may face from the legal system are tremendous. Time in jail is a given but the financial hits can be just as bad; these consequences only multiply each time you get busted.

Your car insurance carrier probably won't be too happy either so be prepared to pay extra each month to be covered, your bill could easily double.

The first driving under the influence (DUI) charge won’t get you too much time behind bars but the monetary fines and penalties will easily be in the thousands of dollars. You will also have your license suspended for a certain amount of time or possibly revoked completely.

The car you were operating will be towed and impounded, that is not a free thing the city will do for you. If it was Mom or Dad’s car they will not be happy.

Your driving record will also show that you have had a DUI so if you aspired to get some kind of job where they want to see your driving record you will have a tough time landing that job. If you thought you could deliver pizzas or maybe you wanted to drive larger trucks, it might be something out of your reach because potential employers will see your DUI charge. They will be concerned about your ability to safely operate a vehicle and won’t think twice about moving on to the next candidate with a DUI free driving record.

Don’t Drink and Drive

Fortunately there is one very easy thing a teenager can do to avoid all of these headaches and complications, don’t drink and drive. It sounds simple because it really is. My parents also had numerous talks with me and my younger brother about drinking and driving so we had a firm understanding of the hazards.

I wasn’t the biggest partier when I was a teenager but I did go to parties in high school where alcohol was available. This might sound weird but I was pretty open with my parents about this. I would tell them that I was going to a party and drinking was probably going to happen even though I wasn’t sure if I would participate or not. My solution to avoid any drinking and driving was to spend the night at the party so I wouldn’t have to drive at all if I drank anything. Honestly sometimes I did drink and sometimes I didn’t but knowing I didn’t have to drive home was a positive.

I also recall going to parties where the person throwing it took everyone’s keys. They didn’t care if you were going to drink or not, if you came to the party you were staying the night period.

Now that I am a parent I don’t know how I would handle this, if one of our kids came to us with a similar proposal that I gave my parents all those years ago, so we will have to cross that bridge if it comes. I do know that they will completely understand the dangers of drinking and driving as well as getting into a car with someone who has been drinking.

I have 100% faith in both of our kids to use their smarts to avoid these situations but I also know mistakes in judgment happen. Hopefully the open conversations we have and the mutual trust we have in our house will trump most of the mental lapses and they will do the right thing.

DUI Charges

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    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      This should be a part of every teen driver's education course! I believe your thoughts about their not being able to make good decisions on driving based upon maturity is so right. Their is actual proof that the average sixteen year olds' brain is not fully developed and does prove a factor in their ability to reason. Great share!

    • adjkp25 profile image
      Author

      David 4 years ago from Northern California

      teaches12345 - Thanks, I'm for whatever can be done to keep our youth safe behind the wheel. I know I thought I was a great driver when I first got my license but I know now that I was completely wrong. Thanks for the comment.

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