Nearly 1 in 3 Young Adults Ride with Impaired Drivers

While the opioid crisis has been dominating headlines, another prominent cause of accidental deaths continues to ravage the nation: impaired driving.

A recent report found that 33 percent of young adults have been in a vehicle with a driver impaired by drugs or alcohol over the past year. That means one in three of those young adults have needlessly put their lives at risk during that time.

In 2016, alcohol-impaired driving alone caused more than 10,000 deaths in the United States, and people driving while under the influence of drugs is growing problem. In 2015, drivers tested positive for a drug other than alcohol in 16 percent of motor vehicle crashes.

The study found that the risk of riding with an impaired driver was higher when young adults were with their peers rather than an older adult. Other research has shown that young adults who ride with impaired drivers are more likely to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol themselves.

This data suggests that peer influence plays a major role in young adults making dangerous decisions. Therefore, it’s important for parents to educate their children not only on the direct health risks associated with drugs and alcohol but also the consequences of driving while impaired.

First, make sure to discuss with your children the dangers of drugs and alcohol and take other measures to prevent them from engaging in substance use. It’s also vital to teach them what to do if they are with friends who are using drugs and alcohol and prepare them to take steps to prevent anyone from driving while impaired.

With April 1 only days away, Alcohol Awareness Month is a good opportunity to share this information with your friends and family. The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey can help educate your community on drugs and alcohol and has a limited number of dates available in April for to host 15 Minute Child Breaks to discuss how to talk with your children about substance use.

Finally, I would like to wish you all a healthy and safe holiday weekend.

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