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Peer Pressure and Chicago Teen Drunk Driving Collisions

November 1, 2014

The leading cause of death for teenagers is motor vehicle accidents, and many teens in Chicago and surrounding areas make dangerous choices like driving drunk. With the fall season approaching and the holidays coming up, teens may be tempted to drink and drive at fall football games, at holiday dances, and at holiday parties. Parents need to be aware of the risks their children face and make sure that they are monitoring their child’s peer group for bad influences.

A personal injury lawyer knows that teenagers tend to make more dangerous driving choices when they have their friends with them in the vehicle. This could include being more likely to get behind the wheel after having too much to drink. Mothers Against Drunk Driving recognizes the fact that peer pressure plays a major role in whether kids decide to drink or not. As a result, the organization chooses a National Teen Influencer Group each year to help spread the message that drinking and driving is never OK.

Preventing Teen Drunk Driving with Positive Peer Pressure

There is no question that peer pressure affects whether a teen will consume alcohol and whether a teen will make dangerous driving choices. One study published by the National Institute of Health took a close look at the impact of peer pressure on teens. The study found the following:

  • There was a dramatic increase in motor vehicle crash rates among teen drivers when the young people were accompanied by peers in their vehicle with them. No such corresponding increase occurs among adult drivers.
  • While less popular teens may be more likely in general to submit to peer pressure in general, more popular teens are especially susceptible to certain types of peer influence. For example, more popular teenagers are significantly more likely to consume alcohol during their adolescent years as compared to teens who are less popular.
  • Adolescents are less likely to drink and drive, or to ride with someone who has been drinking and driving, if they believe that others in their peer group disapprove of impaired driving.

To help teens realize that most young people do not drink and drive, Mothers Against Drunk Driving runs a Power of You(th) program . This provides important information to teenagers, such as the fact that only 30 percent of teens have consumed a drink in the past month and only 20 percent of teenagers binge drink alcoholic beverages.

The National Teen Influence Group is a part of the Power of You(th) effort. Each year, MADD picks 10 teenagers to attend events and organize efforts to stop drunk driving in their local areas. Some of the teens selected have felt the impact of drunk or drugged driving on their lives and they share their stories with others. Other teens are leaders of clubs, groups or organizations dedicated to the fight to stop drunk driving. These teens can use positive peer pressure to lead others their age to make smart choices.

Parents need to be aware of the impact of both positive and negative peer pressure. Parents should talk to their teens about drunk driving this fall and this holiday season and should monitor who their children are spending time with to see if their peer group is a good influence when it comes to drunk driving.

A Chicago, IL accident attorney can help after an injury. Call Coplan + Crane at 800-394-6002 to schedule your free consultation.