Teens drive after drinking, despite understanding danger

In Maryland and across the country, teenagers are preparing to attend prom, finish the school year and enjoy their summer vacations. As these events take place, the danger of teens driving after consuming alcohol is high. Unfortunately, while teens seem to understand that drinking and driving is hazardous, many seem to believe they can safely operate a vehicle after consuming some alcohol.

According to a recent study conducted by Students Against Destructive Decisions and Liberty Mutual Insurance, teens who report that they never drink and drive actually do participate in this risky behavior. Reportedly, one out of every 10 teenagers who reported never drinking and driving also admitted to sometimes getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.

In addition, of the teens who admitted to drinking and driving, 68 percent indicated they would get behind the wheel after consuming in excess of three alcoholic drinks.

Teenagers also seem to have a skewed definition of what constitutes a designated driver. The survey found that teens often consider a designated driver to be the individual who is merely the most sober, even if that person has consumed alcohol.

Drunk driving accidents a serious concern in Maryland

Motorists in Maryland should be aware of the toll drunk driving takes on our roadways. In 2012, 160 people lost their lives in drunk driving collisions in Maryland, according to  Mothers Against Drunk Driving. In total, drunk driving was responsible for 32 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state that year - slightly higher than the national average.

In addition, 978 people suffered injuries in drunk driving accidents in Maryland in 2012. In all, almost 2,500 motor vehicle accidents caused by drunk drivers took place in the state that year.

Across the country, about 31 percent of all traffic fatalities are the result of a drunk driving collision, based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 30 people are killed in drunk driving accidents in the United States every day.

Parents can take steps to protect their children from these unnerving statistics. For instance, consider talking to your teen about safe driving habits, including who can act as a designated driver. Ensure your teen understands that he or she should never get into a vehicle with someone who has been consuming alcohol.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident involving a drunk driver, take the time to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. In such cases, you may be entitled to compensation to account for the harm caused by the drunk driving accident.