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Educating California teens and parents about drunk driving

When teenagers in California get their driver's license for the first time, they are eager to hit the road with their new-found freedom. However, they do not have the judgment or experience of older drivers, and may be more prone to making poor decisions while behind the wheel. One of these decisions is drinking and driving.

Teenage drunk driving is a problem. According to one survey of high school aged teenagers, 10 percent of them stated they drove under the influence of alcohol. Moreover, 25 percent say they rode in the same car with a driver who had been consuming alcohol.

To address the issue of teenage drunk driving, the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) and the University of California San Diego School of Medicine have teamed up to support the SDPD's Teen Alcohol Awareness Program. Under the new initiative, an evaluation component will be added to the program and there will also be sessions for parents to attend that will provide information about how they can talk to their teenagers about driving under the influence. This is especially important because, as reported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), almost 75 percent of minors say their decisions about consuming alcohol are mostly influenced by their parents.

Educational courses held at police headquarters provide both teenagers and their parents information about the dangers associated with drunk driving, the consequences of drunk driving and how to responsibly host parties and social events for teenagers. In addition, education on driving while sober will be presented to area high schools, and a social media campaign aiming to prevent drunk driving and provide intervention strategies will be implemented.

According to one report, last year fatal drunk driving accidents rose nearly 8 percent and fatal drugged driving accidents rose almost 14 percent in the past 10 years. Officers and public awareness groups hope that by involving parents in educating teenagers about the dangers of drunk driving, these numbers will go down.

Drivers of all ages should be aware of the dangers of drunk driving. Unfortunately, even with an increase in awareness, some drivers will still drive under the influence, causing accidents that injure or kill other motorists. When this happens, the victim of an accident caused by a drunk driver may want to research whether it is possible to hold the negligent motorist legally responsible for damages.

Source: Claims Journal, "California Researchers Say Teen DUI Programs Needed," Oct. 20, 2016

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