Teen Car Accidents: Drinking And Driving, A Deadly Combination

One teen died and four others were injured in a single-car crash on a forest service road near Estacada, Oregon on a late Saturday night this spring, as reported by NWCN.com. The group of friends had been partying in the woods before the accident. Investigators reported that both alcohol and speed were factors in the fatal crash.

The open-backed Toyota 4-runner, driven by a 19-year-old male, crashed in an area without cell service. The teens had to be transported in other vehicles to main roads, where emergency crews met them.

Nearly One In Four Teens Drive Impaired

A recent Liberty Mutual Insurance/SADD poll of over 1,700 teens in 11th and 12th grades shows that 23 percent of teens have driven under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or other drugs. Given that the U.S. Census shows that there are 13 million driving-aged teens, up to 3 million teens have driven impaired.

Of teens who admit to drinking and driving, the same poll showed that nearly 20 percent said that they believe driving under the influence of alcohol makes them a better driver, while another 20 percent said it has no impact on their driving. Among teens who admit to driving under the influence of marijuana, nearly 35 percent believe it makes them a better driver, while over 40 percent say it has no impact. Such cavalier attitudes are belied by 2011 statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation showing that car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens and that 26 percent of such deaths are alcohol related.

Most Dangerous Season For Teen Drinking And Driving

Late spring and early summer is the most dangerous season for teens drinking and driving. The Liberty Mutual/SADD poll shows that approximately five percent of teens have driven under the influence of alcohol or drugs during graduation, six percent during prom night, and eight percent during the Fourth of July holiday. More than one in 10 teens (11 percent) have driven impaired during the summer months.

Warning From A Teen Survivor

One of the injured teen passengers who survived the crash near Estacada said that her seat belt saved her life. She had a message for other teens after losing her friend: "Please, you guys, don't be dumb. Think. I recommend you do not drink on spring break." That recommendation applies equally to prom night, graduation and the Fourth of July.

If you are injured or if you lose a loved one in an accident involving teen drinking and driving, you should contact an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney who can obtain full and fair compensation for your injuries or loss.