Drinking and Driving Affects Kids Too!

February 24, 2004

Did you know that:

  1. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among children?
  2. Alcohol is involved in one of four crash-related deaths among child passengers who are younger than 14 years?

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that during 1997 to 2002, 2,335 children under the age of 14 years died in alcohol-related crashes. Of these 2,335 children, 1,588 (68%) were riding in a vehicle with a driver who had been drinking. The driver survived in 68% of crashes even though a child was killed. Only 32% of the children who died were using proper child restraint devices.

The CDC has several ideas that may reduce the number of child deaths in alcohol-related accidents:

  • Strong enforcement of child safety-seat laws.
  • Passage of laws that allow police to stop and ticket drivers because a passenger is not wearing a seat belt.
  • Development of programs to reduce drinking and driving in those people who transport children. For example, some states have already established a lower legal blood alcohol limit for people who drive children.
  • Adoption of a "zero tolerance" policy by families and caregivers regarding drinking alcohol and transporting children.

References:

  1. Child Passenger Deaths Involving Drinking Drivers --- United States, 1997--2002
  2. Alcohol and the Nervous System - Neuroscience for Kids
  3. Child Passenger Safety - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


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