December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, a time when communities across the country join with the National 3D Prevention Month Coalition to conduct campaigns to prevent driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of youth ages 15 to 20 according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information. If you're the parent of a teen, it's likely that drunk and drugged driving is at the top of your list of concerns for your child. Many teens know someone who has been involved in or affected by a car crash with an impaired driver - a driver who had been drinking alcohol or using another drug that lowers the ability to drive safely. Sadly, some of those drivers are young people.
Here are some sobering statistics from Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Per mile driven, 16-year-old drivers have the highest rate of fatal crash involvement. In 2000, 2,339 youth died in alcohol-related crashes - accounting for more than one-third of all youth traffic deaths. Think of it this way - that's enough kids to fill more than 58 school buses. More than 60 percent of youth alcohol-related crash deaths occurred in rural areas - on roads where traffic isn't heavy.