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An Alarming Accident Stat on Teen and Young Adult Drivers

Steve Wagner

We know you’re a good parent and you’ve talked to your kids about drug use, as well as underage drinking. However, there are new challenges on the horizon with the ongoing efforts to legalize marijuana across our country.

We will abstain from an opinion on the legalization of the drug, and instead focus on some statistics and safety tips, as our opinions won’t make much difference in whether or not the legalization continues.

DID YOU KNOW? – Half of teen and young adult drivers who die in car accidents were under the influence of either alcohol, drugs, or both?

So even if you’re 21, and you live in a state where marijuana is now legal and easily acceptable, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to be responsible. Whether you’re of legal age, or you’re the parent of a young child who still needs to learn, here are a couple things you need to know:

  • New studies are showing that just because marijuana is legal in many places, doesn’t mean alcohol use is decreasing. In fact, instances of multiple-substance accidents are on the rise.
  • According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (the FARS), which is a Federal database for fatal crashes, in states that routinely test for substance abuse following a fatal accident, 50.3% of young drivers in these states were either drunk or high at the time of their accident. 36.8% tested for alcohol, 5.9% for marijuana, and 7.6% for both.

Talk To Your Kids

Your kid may already be behind the wheel of a car, and you may think it’s too late, but it’s never too late to help them understand their own impact on the world around them. Here are a few tips we have for talking to your kids about drug and alcohol abuse, especially when they pertain to driving.

  • Listen more than you speak: Chances are, your child may have a good understanding of the topic already. Let them prove to you what they know. Let them ask you hard questions. Offer more of a listening ear than a lecture and you will get much further in earning their trust.
  • Tell them personal stories: Don’t be afraid to share with your kids about times when you’ve made mistakes. It’s good for them to see you are human, and also good for them to hear from you what you learned from your mistakes. If you have personal stories about a car accident, or about a time you got mixed up with drugs or alcohol, use discretion, but don’t be afraid to open up with your kids and tell them about your failures. They will respect you more as a result, and be more likely to talk to you when they have questions or when they make a mistake.
  • Do let them know you draw a hard line with substance abuse and driving: You’re not doing it to be mean or a bad parent, but you’re doing it for their safety and the safety of others. You won’t hesitate to take away their driving privileges or even let them spend the night in jail if it comes to it. But also let them know that you won’t be upset if they call you for help in a situation. You would ALWAYS rather they call you for help then try to get behind the wheel because they don’t want you to find out.
  • Don’t be afraid to bring in the experts: If you have a child you believe is already experimenting with drugs or alcohol, no one is going to blame you as a failure if you seek out professional help. Call your local hospitals and counseling centers for advice on who you should speak with regarding your situation.

Wagner Reese – Car Accident Attorneys

If you have been injured by a drunk or drugged driver, the motor vehicle accident attorneys at Wagner Reese are waiting to assist you with your case. We may be able to help you recover the damages you are owed so you can pay off your medical bills and get back on your feet. Call us today at (888) 204-8440 to schedule a free consultation.


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