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Despite Knowing Dangers, Many Teens Drive While Impaired

With spring upon us, young people of today are now undergoing rites of passage such as graduation and prom. Unfortunately, some teenagers will choose to include alcohol in the celebrations. According to the results of a recent survey on teenagers and drunk driving, drivers, both teen and adult alike, should take extra care during this season.

The survey, conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Drunk Driving, found that a majority of teenagers realized that drinking and driving can significantly increase their chance of being in a car accident. Despite this fact, the survey found that many teenagers of today have rather ignorant beliefs about what it means to be sober enough to drive.

For starters, a significant number of teens seemed to be unaware that even low amounts of alcohol can impair their driving abilities. In the survey, of the teenage respondents that said that they never drive while "under the influence," 10 percent admitted to driving after consuming at least one alcoholic beverage. More shockingly, the 68 percent of teens who said that they regularly drive while under the influence said that they do so after consuming three or more beverages. It was found that many in this group felt it was safe to drive as long as they were able to reach their car "without falling down."

Additionally, the survey found that many teenagers were completely ignorant of what it means to being a "designated driver" — a term most understand to mean as a person that has completely abstained from alcohol. About 21 percent of the survey respondents said that a designated driver could be someone who had consumed "a little" alcohol or drugs, but were still perceived to be sober enough to drive. Even more frightening was the fact that 4 percent of the teens said that they believed a designated driver could be the most sober person in their group, without regard to the number of alcoholic beverages he or she consumed.

Unfortunately, this disparity between the teens' understanding of the dangers of drunk driving and what they actually do in practice often results in tragedy. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one-quarter of fatal teenage car accidents involve alcohol use in some way.

Speak To An Attorney

In addition to the serious zero tolerance penalties for underage drinking and driving, underage impaired drivers in Florida can be held civilly liable for injuries caused in the drunk driving accident. Under the law, injured parties may collect damages for loss of wages, medical and hospital bills, and pain and suffering from the impaired driver. If the accident results in a fatality, the impaired driver may be held liable in a wrongful death lawsuit.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident because of an intoxicated driver, an experienced personal injury attorney can protect your rights and work to maximize your recovery under the law.