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Study: Impaired driving declining among teens, young adults

While there is a tendency among older people to argue that teens and young adults have it easy, the simple fact is that every age presents its own unique set of challenges and that we simply tend to forget this as we age.

Indeed, one of the biggest challenges facing teens and young adults alike is peer pressure. This is particularly true when it comes to alcohol consumption, drug use and, by extension, impaired driving.

While previous research has shown that teens and young adults have not necessarily responded well to this peer pressure over the years, a recently released study by researchers with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows that this may be changing.

According to the study, published in the December 11 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, self-reported impaired driving among teens and young adults dropped precipitously from 2002 to 2014.

Some of the more notable findings included:

  • Self-reported incidents of driving under the influence of alcohol fell by 59 percent among those between the ages of 16-20
  • Self-reported incidents of driving under the influence of alcohol fell by 38 percent among those between the ages of 21-25    
  • Self-reported incidents of driving under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana fell by 39 percent among both age groups    

In regards to alcohol, the researchers attributed these numbers to everything from changing perceptions among teens about binge drinking and stricter enforcement of DUI laws to graduated licensing laws that urge greater vigilance on the part of teens.  

Given the severity of the penalties for a DUI conviction -- particularly for teen drivers -- it's highly encouraging to see numbers like these. Here's hoping this becomes the new norm among teens and young adults in the years ahead.  

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