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Learned Behavior Can Result in Higher Risk of Teen Involvement in Drunk Driving Accidents in Fort Pierce, Elsewhere

I think we probably all fear a collision with a drunk driver at some point, especially around holiday weekends or peak travel times like Winter Break, Spring Break or Labor Day. Drunk driving accidents in Fort Pierce, Pompano Beach, Davie, Oakland Park and elsewhere are often deadly, leaving family members mourning and searching for answers as to why a senseless act had to take their loved one away. Broward County car accident attorneys can help repair some of the broken pieces of a family unit by seeking restitution for damages caused by the accident.

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The recent release of the 2010 Florida Crash Statistics Report by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) puts the fear we all have of drunk drivers into a harsh reality. Drivers under the influence caused 794 alcohol-related fatalities and 106 drug-related fatalities in traffic crashes for 2010. Some would glorify the fact that alcohol-related deaths in car accidents were down almost 21 percent from 2009. But considering more than two people on average die every day from a drunk driver, it isn’t something Florida motorists can be proud of. In fact, more than 32 percent of the 2,444 fatalities in traffic accidents in 2010 were caused by a drunk driver, and another 4 percent were caused by a drugged driver. Last year there was an average of almost 50 alcohol-related crashes in Florida every day, and another 3 to 4 percent were drug-related crashes daily.

The college-age group appears to be the worst when it comes to alcohol-related car crashes. According to the 2010 report, 20 to 24 year olds who drove under the influence had the highest crash rate per 10,000 licensed drivers at 17.78. They were also involved in the highest rate of fatal crashes per 10,000 licensed drivers, at 79. The next highest rate for both crash involvement and fatal crashes was for the 25- to 29-year-old group, which reported rates of 13.80 and .71, respectively. Drivers over the age of 70 reported the lowest alcohol-related fatal crash rates per 10,000 licensed drivers at no more than .08 for any group over 70.

As parents, we need to teach our children about the risks of driving impaired, whether it is related to drugs or alcohol, as well as set a good example for them. A researcher at the University of Florida recently published the results of a study regarding teens and the potential to drive under the influence based on previous parental behavior in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention. Results of the study indicate that 6 percent of adolescent children are likely to drive under the influence by age 21 when witnessing the behavior from parents, compared to only 2 percent who don’t witness a parent driving under the influence. Approximately 10,000 adolescents were analyzed and found that teens who have friends and parents who consume alcohol are even more at risk (11 percent more likely) of driving under the influence in their 20s than teens who aren’t around peers who drink or whose parents consume alcohol at home. Researchers suggest that to break the bad habit before it starts, teens need to have the dangers of driving under the influence instilled in them by age 15 to make a positive impact on their behavior.

Adolescents who learn that it is apparently OK to drink and drive because they’ve seen their parents do it, likely may be more apt to drive when they shouldn’t. These learned behaviors can have a tremendous impact on Florida crash statistics. Over the years, there will be thousands of innocent victims involved in an alcohol-related or drug-related accident.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a drunk-driving accident in Miami, Hallandale Beach, Pembroke Pines, Delray Beach or anywhere in South Florida, contact Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC. For a free initial consultation with an experienced attorney call 1-800-561-7777.

More Blog Entries:

Drunk Driving Accidents Expected to Increase with Alcohol-Serving Fast Food Chains, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, July 14, 2011.

Victim Awarded More than $15 Million after Fort Lauderdale Drunk Driving Accident, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, July 13, 2011.

Prom Night a Danger for Teens Involved in Drunk Driving Accidents in Fort Lauderdale, Port St. Lucie, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, April 25, 2011.

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