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Teens Driving Under the Influence and Others Acting Responsibly

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Teens Driving Under the Influence and Others Acting Responsibly

Thumbnail image for teen drinking and driving.jpgAn April article in USA Today discussed a poll of over 1,700 teens who were asked whether or not they drove under the influence. Almost 25 percent said they did. Amazingly, some said drinking improves their driving, and a greater number said that marijuana does. This, despite the fact that car crashes are among the leading cause of death among teens.

If you’re wondering about the authenticity of the poll, one of the groups conducting the survey were students themselves—Students against Destructive Decisions, or SADD.  Yikes. How do you educate against these destructive opinions? The article noted that parents play an important role and should be aware that teens drink during many unsupervised events other than just proms and graduation, such as during summer vacation. 

I found a nice counterpart to this poll and this irresponsible behavior. An MSN video surfaced awhile ago showing men the way to act responsibly when a female has had too much to drink. It was posted on YouTube in response to another video that got a few boys in trouble for allegedly sexually abusing a young girl. (After the assault, one boy posted a video showing the others carrying her by her arms and legs and she was obviously passed out.) The video was a watershed in the power of using social media in the legal process.

In the follow-up MSN video, a young man finds a woman passed out on a couch. He puts a pillow under her head, places a blanket over her, and gently arranges her hair. His closes by saying “Real men treat women with respect.” Short, sweet, and to the point.

Here’s another “good news” news item about drinking, from ABC News: In Suffolk County, Long Island (NY), a few people volunteered to help police officers (including Marine Patrolmen and Coast Guard officers) learn to recognize boat drivers who have been drinking to excess. If you live near anywhere there is water and boating, you’ve undoubtedly heard of boating accidents and deaths attributed to drinking. You know driving a boat after drinking poses a danger to swimmers and other boaters.

It may sound crazy, but the police actually had the volunteers drink until they were over the legal limit so that they would exhibit the physiological signs of inebriation. Then the officers had to guess each volunteer’s level of inebriation, to familiarize themselves with the signs. Now there’s a novel training method.

Similarly, there’s a program in Philadelphia that has volunteers drink to excess and then has officers study them and administer the sobriety tests that are administered in real-life situations. It’s believed that this helps officers better recognize people who may not be obviously inebriated but are still over the limit.

(Most people who are stopped for DUI have a blood alcohol content level of 0.17%. But there are many drivers over the 0.08% legal limit but under 0.17% who are not showing obvious signs.)

It has always amazed me how people who have not been around others who drink to excess can’t recognize the signs that these people are inebriated because so often it’s obvious to many who have grown up with a family member who drinks to excess. There are many alcoholics who seem to hold their liquor well, but so many who have lived with the disease are finely attuned to the slightest sign. When I’ve been out with my husband and pointed out someone who is has had too much to drink, he often doesn’t see it. I see it only too well. 


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