A new survey finds 30 percent of teens have knowingly accepted a ride from a drinking driver in the past year.
The online poll of 600 people ages 15 to 20 was sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and State Farm Insurance. It found more than 90 percent of teens said they would be willing to talk with friends about the risks of riding with a drunk driver. The survey also found 70 percent of teens feel that objecting to riding with a drunk driver will not harm their friendships, HealthDay reports.
According to MADD, in 2013, 378 youth ages 15-20 were killed as passengers of a drinking driver, and 202 (53 percent) of the deaths were a result of riding with an underage drunk driver.
“October is a time when teens across the country are settling into the new school year and enjoying school dances and sporting events and fall festivities,” increasing the chances that they’ll be confronted with a drunk driver, noted MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church.
A recent study published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research shows that while most students do not necessarily plan on riding with a drinking driver, they are still at great risk to do so because they are willing to if the occasion arises. The stronger teens think their friends will disapprove of them riding with drinking drivers, the less likely they are to do it.
“One of the most effective ways to prevent students from riding with a drinking driver is to show them that they can – and should – play an active role in positively influencing each other about this risky behavior; versus passively approving or failing to act when their friends are getting in cars with drivers who have been drinking alcohol,” said Dr. Robert Turrisi of Pennsylvania State University, one of the study’s authors.