Adolescence, Alcohol and Driving

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The media's view of adolescence, alcohol and driving is extremely

clear. Almost every article, report or documentary on these things

(especially when they are combined) portrays irresponsibility, danger

and/or violence and aggression. To put it more clearly the media's

view on the situation that occurs or can occur when adolescents are

left to make their own decisions or choices is that any given

adolescent will choose to drink alcohol and most likely choose to

drive while under the influence.

Here are a few examples (extracted from articles, publications and the

web) of how the media views adolescents, alcohol and driving:

· Use of alcohol and other drugs is associated with the leading causes

of death and injury (eg. vehicle crashes) among teenagers and young

adults. (Centers for Disease Control {CDC}, "Alcohol and Other Drug

Use Among High School Students--United States, 1990," Morbidity and

Mortality Weekly Report {MMWR}, 11/91, p. 776).

· The total cost of alcohol use by youth--including traffic crashes,

violent crime, burns, drowning, suicide attempts, fetal alcohol

syndrome, alcohol poisoning and treatment--is more than $58 billion

per year. (DT Levy, K Stewart, et al "Costs of Underage Drinking"

{report prepared for the US Department of Justice Office of Juvenile

Delinquency Prevention), Pacific Institute for Research and

Evaluation, 7/99}).

· 40% of American College students have "binged" on alcohol during the

past two weeks (1999 info). (NIDA, 1999 Monitoring the Future Study,

College Students and Young Adults

· Young adults/adolescents ages 18-25 are most likely to binge or

drink heavily. 54% of the drinkers in this age group binge and about

one in four are heavy drinkers! (NIDA, 1998 National Household Survey

on Drug Abuse).

· Teenage drivers cause about five times as many vehicle-related

deaths as middle aged drivers.

· In 1996, over 17,000 people died in alcohol-related car crashes in

the United States. An alarming 2,315 of them were adolescents (between

15 and 20 years old).

· Almost half of all motor vehicle crashes that kill teenagers are
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