What You Can Do About Teen Binge Drinking
Although all 50 states have made it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .02, .01, or even .00 if the smell of alcohol is detectable, teens are still defying zero tolerance blood alcohol laws and continuing to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. Even worse, most of these teens haven’t had just one or two drinks before driving – they’ve been binge drinking.
Binge drinking is defined as the consumption of 4 or more alcoholic drinks for women or 5 or more drinks for men during a period of 2 to 3 hours. And it’s easier than you think for a teen to get caught up in binge drinking. Most teens don’t drink to be social; they drink to get drunk as quickly as possible. Because of the amount of alcohol so quickly consumed, teens usually suffer from acute alcohol intoxication and are in no shape to walk, let alone operate a vehicle.
Yet 85% of the teens that reportedly engaged in drinking and driving also stated that they were binge drinking before. In fact, 1 in 5 teens involved in fatal crashes in 2010 actually had blood alcohol levels that were higher than the .08% legal limit for adults.
If you are worried about your teen binge drinking and driving, there are several steps you can take. First, do your best to realize that teens do binge drink to excess, and you need to educate your teen on the dangers of excess alcohol consumption. Explain to them the severe consequences of driving under the influence, and always ensure they know how to find a safe way home when they need one.