DALLAS, TX, May 26, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The statistics about teenage automobile accidents are startling: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data reveal motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for those aged 15 to 20 years old. In Texas alone, 169 of the 1,523 fatal car accidents in 2010 involved drivers aged 15 to 20 years old, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
Having a teenager behind the wheel seems to be a risky proposition in the best of circumstances, but when teen add drinking to the mix, it can be an invitation for a car wreck. Dallas DWI injury attorneys routinely work to help those hurt by drunk drivers with their negligent accident claims.
Teenage Drunk Driving Statistics
The NHTSA reports that 12.8 percent of all motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. are alcohol-related. Forty percent of those accidents involve a teenage drunk driver. Car accidents remain the leading cause of death for drivers between the ages of 15 and 20. Alcohol is estimated to be responsible for one-third of those deaths.
Statistics show teen drivers in Texas are far more dangerous. Data from the Texas Department of Transportation reveals that although drivers under 21 years old in Texas make up only 6 percent of licensed drivers, they are responsible for 12 percent of fatal motor vehicle accidents involving alcohol. A recent study from the University of Texas at Austin found that 17 percent of high school seniors admitted to drinking and driving in the past year.
The prevalence of alcohol use among teens and the way that teens use alcohol contributes to the problem of teen drinking and driving. According to Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD), 72 percent of teens have consumed alcohol by the end of high school.
High-school and college students are also more likely to binge drink than other age groups, where they consume a lot of alcohol in a short amount of time for the sole purpose of getting intoxicated, according to the Center for Disease Control.
Texas Courts Not Tough Enough on Teen DWIs
Texas laws deal with most underage drunk drivers in the same manner as adult offenders. Texas describes adults too young to drink, those 17 to 20 years old, as "minor adults" for the purposes of alcohol offenses. They can be arrested and go to jail for drinking and driving and, unlike an offense committed by a minor, the offense goes on their criminal and driving records permanently.
Arrests for DWI often do not change teens' behavior. A study conducted by the Dallas Morning News revealed that many minor adults arrested for DWI are likely to reoffend. The study looked at 5,700 alcohol-related offenders in municipal court from 2004 to 2009 and found that nine percent re-offend - some having as many as five DWI convictions by their early 20s.
The reason teens may be likely to re-offend is because they aren't likely to face severe consequences. Despite the "zero-tolerance" law in Texas, Texas courts are more likely to cut teen offenders a break than to make them face serious consequences. Teens are more likely to be sentenced to community service than to be ordered to treatment or serve any time in jail. This is true even for teens with multiple offenses.
Drunk Driving Accident Claims
For people injured by teenage drunk drivers, they may find comfort by making the teenagers accountable for their negligence. In Texas, an individual with a drunk driving accident claim may be able to recover more for their injuries than they would for other auto wreck claims.
Teens often believe they are invincible, leading them to make poor choices and engage in risky behavior such as drinking and driving. However, people often end up hurt from such actions. If you have been injured by a drunk driver, you should speak with a Dallas DWI accident lawyer for advice on your claim.
Original article at: http://www.textrial.com/Articles/Texas-Teenagers-More-Likely-to-Drink-and-Drive.shtml
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