According to a report issued by SAMHSA (National Household Survey on Drug Abuse), strict licensing laws are helping to lower the incidence of teenagers driving drunk. The survey was modified in 2002 and is now called the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The data reflects interviews with 75,000 youth aged 12-17…and alcohol was included.

Additionally, this report found that nearly half of students interviewed reported having obtained alcohol at some point, with girls ranking higher than boys in the ability to obtain it.

States that impose stricter laws on potential new drivers have lowered their incidence of drunk driving among teenagers. Those states reported only 8.2 percent of 15-17 year old drivers said they drove under the influence of alcohol in the past year. In less-restrictive states, 11.5 percent of young drivers drove under the influence of alcohol. Licensing restrictions have everything to do with this recent statistic.

Several states have increased driving age from 16 to 18 for first-time drivers, and other states have implemented required drug testing before the driving part of the exam for a new license can take place!

This stems from the idea that if they show up under the influence before they even have license, they will definitely drink and drive. Failure of the on-site test results in a 30-90 day waiting period before the teen can take the driving test again.

The AMA (American Medical Association) applauds parents who discourage and disallow underage drinking. Fatal car accidents, injuries and assaults, and irreversible damage to the brain should not be rites of passage for any child. But new social host liability laws in states across the country are changing parents’ minds.

As the responsibility for underage drinking moves from teens that consume alcohol to parents who provide it to teens, parents who break these laws could be charged for medical bills, property damage, and lawsuits for emotional pain and suffering. Additionally, parents in Kansas , Massachusetts , Minnesota , New Jersey , Pennsylvania , and Texas , may find themselves undergoing criminal prosecution for underage drinking by their teens and their teen’s friends.

Social host liability laws often extend to parents who fail to take sufficient measures to prevent underage drinking in their homes. So you might think twice about leaving your teen home alone during a weekend.

More information about teenagers driving drunk