Study shows positive role models could combat drunk driving

Some say that it is important with whom people surround themselves. That can be especially true for children. Teenagers are definitely at a vulnerable age to give in to peer pressure. Teens tend to want to fit in with those around them, even if fitting in can be dangerous. 

A study published in Pediatrics suggests that modeled behavior is crucial to try to prevent drunk driving among teens. Learned driving behaviors come from more than driving courses and books. They come from experience and what teens see of the drivers around them.

A multi-year study followed about 2,500 teens through high school. Those teens were asked questions to evaluate their driving experiences and whether they had ever driven while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

The study identified the following trends:

Teens who got their driver's licenses earlier were more likely to have driven under the influence by the time that they were seniors in high school. 

Teens who rode as passengers in a vehicle with a driver who was impaired were more likely to drive drunk later, too. 

What are the safety lessons to take from this impaired driving research? First, if you are a parent or role model to a young driver, be the driver that you would want the teen to be -- a sober driver.

If a parent or guardian has suspicions about the behavior of their teen's friends, they should not underestimate their concerns. Not only, as this study suggests, could a teen learn to drink and drive from his friends, but he could be injured or die in a drunk driving accident caused by his friends. 

Holding impaired drivers accountable for their mistakes is also a route toward fostering a safer community. Someone who has been injured in a drunk or drugged driving accident in South Carolina has rights. A personal injury lawyer can explain the legal options that could help a victim who's suffered injuries in a wreck. 

Source: USA Today, "Riding with impaired drivers increases teens' DWI risks," Michelle Healy, March 17, 2014