Friday, October 27, 2006

Driving is risky

I’m working on a brief talk I am going to be doing at a public forum next Monday about the effects of alcohol on the adolescent brain. While underaged drinking is a serious problem, and car crashes and deaths caused by drunk drivers is a serious problem (prompting the forum) they are not the “only” problem.

A bit less than 25% of teens killed in car crashes (compared to a bit over 25% of adults killed in car crashes) involve drunk drivers. Serious, yes, but again not the only problem. The Chicago Tribune yesterday ran a story (part of an ongoing, episodic series on teen drivers, their problems and deaths) pertinent to the point that drunk driving is not the only problem.

There are nearly as many fatal crashes involving 16 and 17 year olds that occur between 3 to 5 pm Monday through Friday as there are fatal crashes between 9 pm to 2 am Friday and Saturday nights. The latter more likely having a contribution from alcohol consumption. (National Highway Administration data via AAA via Tribune)

So while it does seem to make sense to focus on the toll of drunk drivers and easier to get folks fired up about drunk drivers killing with their cars, we must also look at the bigger picture. We must work to decrease all car crashes, from all causes. The media used to talk about the carnage on our roads and we ought to keep that in mind and work in a multi-pronged fashion to limit all car crash deaths.

1 comment:

KGreen said...

I know from reading past blogs that teens and safe driving are an issue that you spend a lot of time focusing on. This is indeed a serious problem and I appreciate all the effort you put into getting the word out. Teen drivers are not only killing themselves, they are killing others and ruining their lives in the process. A year ago last week (10/24) my grandmother was struck and killed by a car as she crossed the street returning home from grocery shopping at the Jewel in Lake Forest. The driver of the car was a 16 year old and there were several other teen passengers in the car. It was an accident, a moment in time that changed all of our lives forever. A moment I know will remain with the driver and passengers of that car forever as well. Keep up the good work and keep getting the word out.

Thank you!