Motor vehicle crashes due to alcohol and drug impairment can involve both driving while intoxicated and riding with an impaired driver.
In the study, “Association Between Riding With an Impaired Driver and Driving While Impaired,” published in the April 2014 Pediatrics (published online March 17), researchers studied data from the first three years of the NEXT Generation Study, which included a nationally representative, longitudinal sample of 10th graders starting in 2009-2010.
Teens who rode with an impaired driver were significantly more likely to drive while impaired, compared to those who reported never riding with an impaired driver. Furthermore, the earlier and more frequently teenagers reported riding with an impaired driver, the more likely they were to drive while impaired. Also, teenagers who reported obtaining a driver’s license earlier were more likely to drive while impaired compared to those who obtained a driver’s license later. This and other studies have found that exposure to parental and peer drinking and driving during adolescence is associated with a higher probability of driving while impaired within one year, and during young adulthood.
Study authors conclude that in addition to well-implemented substance use, designated driver, and other drinking and driving prevention programs, parents should model safe driving, refrain from drinking and driving, reinforce the dangers of drinking and driving, delay licensure, and monitoring teens’ riding as well as their driving behavior.