Each year during the summertime, the number of fatal and nonfatal crashes involving teenage drivers ticks upward. The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is so dangerous that many now refer to this stretch of time as summer’s 100 Deadliest Days. While the fact that more teenagers are behind the wheel during the summertime helps explain some of the crash increase, many other factors also contribute to crashes involving teen motorists.
Per AAA Newsroom, alcohol is a frequent factor in fatal and nonfatal car wrecks involving one or more teenage drivers.
How often alcohol contributes to teen crashes
A study of 100 Deadliest Days fatal crashes involving teenage drivers that took place between 2013 and 2017 revealed that alcohol played a role in 17% of them. Also, while laws prevent teenagers from consuming alcohol under any circumstances, one out of every six teenage drivers who had involvement in fatal summer crashes had alcohol in their systems at the time of the incidents.
How alcohol affects driving ability
Alcohol has physical as well as cognitive effects on a driver. It impacts balance and hand-eye coordination, both of which have the potential to hinder driving ability. Alcohol use may also make a motorist more likely to fall asleep or pass out behind the wheel, causing a crash. Alcohol use may, too, impact judgment and reaction time, making it harder for a driver to avoid obstacles he or she otherwise would be able to avoid.
Teens and other motorists who drink and drive and injure or kill others may face serious criminal and other sanctions.