For many, New Year’s Eve means a champagne toast, a midnight kiss, and a New Year’s resolution. For Pennsylvania teenagers, the event can mean a drunk driving accident. In a recent survey of teen drivers, 10 percent admitted that they had driven while under the influence of drugs or alcohol on New Year’s Eve. In the same survey, 49 percent of teens said that they realized Dec. 31 was an extremely dangerous time to drive.
Most teen drivers say they would stop driving if a passenger asked them to stop. A large number–94 percent–said that they would stop driving if they’d been drinking and a passenger objected to their driving. A similarly large number–90 percent–said they would stop driving if they’d been smoking marijuana and a passenger objected. When asked if, as passengers, they would try to stop a teen driver from driving while drunk or high on drugs, 87 percent said they would try to stop a drunk driver from getting behind the wheel, and 72 percent said they would stop a driver who was high on marijuana. Pennsylvania teen drivers may have been safer this New Year’s thanks to a new law that requires new drivers and passengers under age 18 to wear a seat belt. The new law makes driving without seat belts a primary offense, meaning law enforcement can stop and cite a driver for not wearing a seat belt without issuing any other citations. Other provisions of the new law restrict the number of teen friends a driver can carry as passengers and require teen drivers who are driver’s license permit holders to have an additional 15 hours of experience behind the wheel.
With the dangerous night of driving behind us, the damage that the night’s drunk drivers can cause has already been done. If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in an accident involving another’s carelessness, a personal injury attorney can listen to your case and explain your rights.
Norristown Patch: “Study Reveals More Teens Drink and Drive on NYE Than Any Other Holiday,” James Myers, Dec. 28, 2011