Underage drinking is a major driver of teen–related auto accidents every year. New studies find that not only is underage drinking a huge problem in the population, but that many teenagers indulge in excessive drinking or binge drinking.
Binge drinking may be defined as the consumption of five or more alcohol beverages. In the case of female teens, the number drops to four alcoholic beverages during a single session of drinking. The research was published in Pediatrics journal recently, and also defines extreme binge drinking as the consumption of 10 or more alcoholic beverages in a row.
The researchers focused on data involving more than 16,000 high school seniors. For the purpose of the research, they defined a single drink as 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine, a shot glass of liquor, a mixed drink or a 12- ounce wine cooler.
They found that about 28 % of the respondents in the study admitted to binge drinking in the past two weeks, while 10.5%, admitted indulging in excessive drinking or drinking 10 or more drinks during a single session. Nearly 6% of the teenagers drank more than 15 alcohol beverages in a row at some point in the past two weeks.
Obviously, that amount of alcohol intoxication can be devastating, especially when a person decides to operate a vehicle. Teenagers have a very low capacity to tolerate alcohol, and as a result, the alcohol can be absorbed by the body much more easily. This means that the debilitating effects of alcohol can begin to show up much sooner, and the effects can be very exaggerated in teenage drivers.
Transportation officials must look closely at more effective solutions to the problem of binge drinking involving underage drinkers and teen drivers.
Doug Horn is a Kansas City auto accident lawyer, dedicated to the representation of victims of auto accidents across Missouri.
Horn is a driving safety advocate and founder of Drive By Example, a community service organization dedicated to advancing driving safety.