According to a recent report from NPR, car accidents are the leading cause of death for American teenagers, and in a surprisingly high number of those crashes, alcohol plays a role. About 25% of all teenage traffic collisions involve alcohol. In states where there are substantial restrictions on alcohol usage and serious repercussions for impaired driving, the rate of teenage auto accident fatalities tends to be lower, according to a recent study reported by NPR. What do the findings of this new study tell us? California and states across the country should put policies into place that help to curb teens’ purchase and use of alcohol, and to take steps to make the consequences of drinking and driving more severe.
Regulations on Alcohol Sales for the General Population
When we talk about regulations aimed at limiting the purchase of alcohol and its consumption by underage teen drivers, what kinds of regulations are we thinking about in practice? According to the NPR report, there are a number of regulations that can accomplish these goals with relative ease, and all of them target the general population. In other words, policies aimed strictly at teens do not tend to have the results we want. Rather, it is important to consider regulations that would limit alcohol purchases for everyone, including San Diego residents who can legally purchase it. Examples of these policies include but are not limited to:
- Limiting the total hours in a day or week that stores can sell alcohol;
- Restricting the “density of alcohol outlets in a particular area”; and
- Increasing the taxes on sales of alcohol.
Can pricing practices and the potential increase of alcohol tax actually prevent teens from drinking? According to Scott Hadland, the lead author of the study who also is a physician of adolescent medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, “younger people are very sensitive to the price of alcohol.” Indeed, Hadland went on to explain that when it comes to teens and alcohol, “they are unable to consume it to the same extent because it becomes very expensive.”
Policies Aimed at Teens Who Drink and Drive
While regulations that impact the general population tend to be among the most effective at limiting alcohol-related teenage car accidents, there are also some policies aimed at teens that can be effective. For instance, the NPR report cites two specific policies:
- Those holding parents accountable for teenage drinking on their properties; and
- Graduated driver’s license (GDL) programs.
In case you do not know about graduating driver’s license programs, they “restrict new drivers until they reach a certain and experience level.” The restrictions imposed by GDL programs can vary, including restrictions on:
- Cell phone use in the car;
- Nighttime driver; and
- Number of passengers permitted in the vehicle.
Contact a San Diego Car Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you love recent suffered serious or fatal injuries in a car crash involving an impaired driver, and experienced San Diego auto accident lawyer can assist with your case. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about filing a claim for compensation.
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