Each year, automobile accidents are the leading cause of death in young adults in the United States. These young adults, ages 18-25, are often under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crashes. From the years of 1995 to 2013, 26% of all fatal car crashes involved drugs and alcohol. That’s 267,598 lives that could have been saved if alcohol and drug use were more closely regulated.
For your adults, alcohol and marijuana are typically the most tempting substances to abuse. Intoxicated driving safety campaigns are more common now than in years past, but studies show that half of teens and young adults who lose their lives in automobile wrecks were under the influence at the time of the accident.
These car accident facts and statistics prove that more needs to be done to thwart intoxicated driving in the United States. As the legalization of marijuana becomes more common in states throughout the U.S., the teen driver fatality statistics will likely get worse. Not only will young adults have easier access to pot, but they may view this as another excuse to make alcohol consumption before driving acceptable. As ad campaigns warning against intoxicated driving become more common, our community should unite to educate young people on the dangers of driving under the influence. Ten years ago smoking was accepted in society as the “norm”, but with increased education and advertisements has become much less common today. It is our hope that the same feat can be accomplished with the topic of intoxicated driving so that it is unpopular and unacceptable in the near future.
If you are a parent or guardian of a teen or young adult, please discuss the dangers associated with intoxicated driving. Just because teens have limited access to alcohol and marijuana as compared to those over 21 years old, does not mean they will use less. Provide safe alternatives to driving, such as sober family members or friends, car services, or AAA that will help to prevent them from driving under the influence. It is our responsibility to educate the next generation so that Georgia roadways are safer.
In addition to advertising and substance abuse education, many organizations are creating technologies that can further prevent intoxicated driving. The Injury Center at the University of Michigan and the Transportation Research Institute teamed up to present a study detailing a technology which could prevent drunk drivers from accessing roads across the U.S. This technology uses an Ignition interlock system, which prevents an automobile from starting when a driver’s breath registers a certain alcohol percentage. Similar devices are already used by legal systems as warnings for those who have been caught driving under the influence, but this new technology would expand on the existing devices to make roadways safer. This device is estimated to save 59,000 lives over the course of 15 years. The cost is substantial, but would pay for itself after only three years, as well as save $343 million in 15 years. It is possible that this technology will be available in vehicles in 2018, but this is dependent upon automakers preferences.
At Jones & Swanson, we witness what can happen after drunk driving traffic accidents often. Any advancement in the education and protection of the public from intoxicated driving are encouraging.