From the Wires
More Than One In 10 Teen Drivers Report Driving Under The Influence On New Year's Eve
Parental Consent of Teenage Drinking is on the Rise, According to a New Study from Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD
By: PR Newswire
Dec. 19, 2012 12:01 AM
BOSTON, Dec. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With approximately 13 million licensed teenage drivers in the U.S., it's disturbing that more than one in ten (12 percent) report driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs on New Year's Eve. According to a new survey from Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), New Year's Eve is the most common night of the year for teens to get behind the wheel after drinking or using other drugs. What's more, teens already know this is a hazardous time to be on the road: of the more than 1,700 teens surveyed, 49 percent consider driving on New Year's as very or extremely dangerous. And parents may not be helping to curb this behavior, as findings suggest parental consent to teenage drinking is also on the rise.
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"There are approximately 3,000 teenage driving-related deaths a year, a third of which involve alcohol," says Dave Melton, a driving safety expert with Liberty Mutual Insurance and managing director of global safety. "Parents have to play an active role in preventing underage drinking. Talk to your kids before New Year's celebrating begins and make sure they understand the importance of making smart, and possibly life-saving, decisions."
According to 2012 survey findings, parents have become more accepting of alcohol usage by their teenage children compared to 2010 and 2011 data. Despite more than 150 cities or counties and 24 states adopting laws which hold social hosts liable for serving alcohol to minors, nearly half (47 percent) of teens are allowed by their parents to go to parties where alcohol is served and 15 percent say they are allowed to host parties with alcohol. Additionally, 37 percent say they are allowed to drink when their parents are present and 29 percent report that they are allowed to drink unsupervised.
"Many adults have a 'been there, done that' mentality when it comes to the issue of impaired driving among teens. Yet, research points out that a majority of their children know that this is a timely and important issue," said Stephen Wallace, senior advisor for policy, research, and education at SADD. "Ask your teen to make a New Year's resolution to avoid underage drinking and to stay out of cars with impaired drivers."
Starting the Conversation
"The best thing a parent can do is have an open and ongoing dialogue with their children about drinking and driving," says Melton. "Talk through the dangers of reckless decisions and help your kids understand that the conversation isn't punitive, it's preventative. I would also encourage all parents and teens to sign the Parent/Teen Driving Contract as a first step toward lifelong safe driving habits, and for parents to make sure to model responsible behavior themselves."
About the Study
About Liberty Mutual Insurance
The sixth-largest auto and home insurer in the U.S., Liberty Mutual Insurance (www.libertymutual.com) sells full lines of coverage for automobile, homeowners, valuable possessions, personal liability, and individual life insurance. The company is an industry leader in affinity partnerships, offering auto and home insurance to employees and members of more than 14,000 companies, credit unions, professional associations and alumni groups.
Deborah Burke Henderson
SOURCE Liberty Mutual Insurance; SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions)
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