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Teenager Drinking and Driving
Don't end up as part of these Statistics!!

Here are some facts you need to know before you drink and drive or
get in the car with someone who has been drinking!!!

There are several explanations for the disproportionately high numbers of teenage alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents - explanations that range from the false notion on "teenage invincibility" to the increase in personal freedoms (i.e. reaching the legal ages for driving and later, for drinking). For some, letting or encouraging an intoxicated person to drive seems funny. And, of course, there’s the "I can handle it" syndrome, where the person figures they can "hold" their liquor or that they haven’t had enough to seriously impair them. Few people realize the effect a mere drink or two can have on their system. For instance, teenage boys with a Blood Alcohol level of .05-.10 are a staggering 18 times more likely to suffer a single vehicle crash than their non-drinking counterparts. Teenage girls at the same levels are an incredible 54 times more likely to crash.

What happens at certain blood alcohol levels? At 0.1% (the legal drinking-and-driving limit in most states) a person's ability to drive a car is significantly impaired; that is, there is a loss of judgment and some perception and muscle movement problems. At .2%, most people are "grossly intoxicated"; that is, they slur their speech and have difficulty walking. At .3%, most people will be on the verge of unconsciousness or be comatose. At .4%, death is possible. Of course, there is such variability between people that these are only "textbook" guidelines. Some people are very sensitive to alcohol's effects, while others are more tolerant to its effects. What does "blood alcohol level" mean? This is the amount of alcohol in a person's blood, measured in "grams percent".

People can overdose on alcohol and die either by suffocating on their vomit while drunk or sleeping, or because alcohol can shut down the brain areas that control breathing. Anyone who has a blood alcohol level of 0.35% or above is in danger of overdose (about 14-18 drinks in a rather brief period of time). Second, chronic heavy drinkers can die during withdrawal from (especially) high blood alcohol levels. (Death is usually due to seizures when the body experiences hyperexcitability during declining blood alcohol levels.)

Impairment of driving is due to many effects of alcohol: reduced judgment, increased reaction time, a euphoric "high" that makes the person feel they can drive safely when in fact their ability is reduced, increased risk-taking, reduced ability to focus on roadway markers and other traffic, and (when the effects are wearing off) marked drowsiness that can lead to decreased attention and perhaps periods of "nodding off".

While the number of underage drunk drivers has decreased 41 percent over the last decade, very little impact has been made with young adults over the legal drinking age. More than half of all fatal drunk driving crashes are caused by 21-34 year olds. Equally disturbing is the fact that posthumous testing (after death) reveals these drivers to have consumed substantial amounts of alcohol, almost twice the amount needed to reach the legal limit for intoxication.