Many studies that deal with the dangers of drinking and driving focus on the behavior of adult drivers. A recent study commissioned by the University of Florida focused on the likelihood of drinking and driving among adolescents and other young people.
The study found that the risk of either receiving a DUI or dying in a car accident where alcohol was involved increases dramatically during adolescence and continues to increase as people enter their 20s. The rise continues until somewhere in the mid-20s when the rate peaks.
Chris Delcher, author of the study from Florida’s College of Medicine, says that the goal of the investigation was to help identify risk factors affecting children to help spot which kids may be at a special risk of eventually being charged with DUI.
The study was an extensive one and collected data from 10, 270 teens who participated in a larger study known as the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The study first began following the participants in the mid-1990s when they were approaching driving age. The teens continued to report on their DUI behavior until their early 20s.
The data collected revealed that DUI behavior was seen most commonly in whites. Hispanics were second most likely to be at risk for receiving a DUI at some point in their late teens and early 20s, followed by Asians and then black youth. The trends found among young drivers continue to repeat in later years as authors of the study say that other research focusing on adult drivers has shown the same ethnic breakdown in DUI rates.
Other risk factors that Delcher uncovered include teens who engage in other “high risk behaviors” including smoking pot or binge drinking. Researchers say that among white adolescents a major risk factor for later DUI charges is ease of access to alcohol in the home. This was not found to be as big of a risk to black adolescents, with study authors saying the reason was likely the increased chance that parents of black adolescents were strict protestants and did not keep alcohol in the house in the same numbers as white households.
The biggest risk factors for drinking and driving including being young, male, from a higher-income family and having a car of your own. These four factors were more determinative than even race. Those young, affluent, car-owning males were vastly more likely to drive drunk than females, poor adolescents or those who do not own their own cars.
The hope is that by identifying some of the most common risk factors for drunk driving, parents and others can help watch for problems early on, hopefully intervening before teens are ever charged with drunk driving. A DUI at an early age can spell all kinds of trouble and will follow your children around for the rest of their lives. If you or someone you love has faced such a problem it’s critical to get in touch with an experienced DWI Lawyer as soon as possible. At Kans Law Firm, we have over 18 years of experience defending individuals charged with all levels of alcohol driving offenses.