Alcohol-Related Crash Deaths Reduced in Young Drivers!

December 22, 2002

Good news! The number of fatal alcohol-related car accidents involving young drivers is down! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that between 1982 and 2001, fatal alcohol-related crash rates DECREASED by:

  • 60% for drivers aged 16-17 years
  • 55% for drivers aged 18-20 years
  • 41% for drivers aged 21-24 years
  • 39% for drivers 25 years and older.

Graph courtesy of the CDC.

Efforts and programs to reduce drunk driving may be responsible for the drop in fatal alcohol-related accidents. For example, in 1984, the Uniform Drinking Age Act required every state to make the minimum legal drinking age 21 years by 1988. Some states have adopted "zero tolerance" laws for people under the age of 21 years. These laws mean that a person younger than 21 years who is caught driving with even a small amount of alcohol in his system could be arrested for "driving under the influence (DUI)." Therefore, public education campaigns that have stressed the dangers of drinking and driving may also be working.

Whatever the reason for this good news, let's hope this trend continues!

Reference and further information:

  1. Involvement by young drivers in fatal alcohol-related motor-vehicle crashes - United States, 1982-2001. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 51:1089-1091 (December 10, 2002).
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  3. Alcohol and the Brain - Neuroscience for Kids

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