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Are Teens Getting The Message About Drinking And Driving? [AUDIO]

Drinking and driving among teens in high school is down by more than half since 1991. That’s according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control.

DWI checkpoint
Joe Raedle, Getty Images

While the number has fallen by 54 percent in the past 21 years, one in 10 teens still say they have consumed alcohol and driven, which amounts to 2.4 million times a month. So, the problem continues.

“We are moving in the right direction, but we still have a ways to go,” said Gary Poedubicky, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “High school students are still consuming alcohol and driving. So, I think they are getting the message, but there is work to be done. We’ve had some proven ways that have helped reduce drinking and driving among teens which include restricting the legal drinking age to 21. In New Jersey, we’ve also implemented the graduated driver’s licensing system that restricts driving at night. That has definitely helped.”

“I think parents also are playing a more critical role with their teens and talking to them early about the dangers of underage alcohol use and the dangers of drinking and driving. That has helped raise awareness and help the problem,” said Poedubicky. “We have parent-teen driving agreements these days. Parents can model safe driving behavior and can consider using such agreements. It can help keep them from getting behind the wheel when they shouldn’t. Because of the laws that are in place and because of the increased communication between parents and children, I believe we will see additional improvement in the future.”

About 20 percent of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had alcohol in their systems. From that group, the CDC says 81 percent had enough alcohol in their blood to be considered legally drunk.

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