Too often Chicago auto accident attorneys at Abels & Annes receive phone calls about collisions with DUI drivers. Sometimes those intoxicated motorists are teens.
Getting your hands on a six pack may be cool, if you’re a teenager. But the consequences of drinking and driving aren’t the least bit cool. That’s the message we need to share with the teens in our lives to help reduce the risks of drunk driving car accidents in Chicago and elsewhere.
According to the Mayo Clinic, nearly $760 billion was spent on hospitalizations as a result of underage drinking incidents across the U.S. in 2008 alone. The billions were used to cover the near 36,620 underage drinkers who were admitted into a hospital for alcohol dependence, abuse, withdrawal, intoxication and other alcohol-related problems.
With Spring Break quickly approaching, the risks for these types of accidents are expected to increase drastically, especially among teenagers. As a matter of fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that nearly 35 percent of drivers age 15- to 20-years-old who were killed in a traffic accidents in 2009 had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .01 or higher, meaning that their accidents were alcohol-related. Nearly 30 percent had a BAC of .08, meaning that these underage drivers were drunk behind the wheel.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the estimate from the Mayo Clinic of nearly $760 billion spent on these underage drinkers may be a little low because not all cases of alcohol-related hospital visits are reported. This figure should also include the short hospital visits and emergency room visits that didn’t result in a hospital admission. Other times, cases were not recorded when the young patient was discharged. All in all, officials believe that this annual cost was actually much higher and underage drinking is a bigger problem than we may think.
Of the recorded 36,620 admissions, nearly 80 percent of them included acute intoxication, meaning that the underage patient was highly intoxicated when they arrived at the hospital. Nearly a quarter of all admissions involved some type of an injury, which was usually traffic accident-related. The injury cases accounted for nearly $510 million of the total.
If it isn’t apparent already, underage drinking is a problem here in Chicago and elsewhere throughout the country. According to an Illinois State Police study, about 28 percent of residents aged 12- to 20-years-old admitted that they had consumed alcohol at least once in the last month. This accounts for about 462,000 of the 1,647,000 residents of the state in this age group.
Before your teen grabs the keys and heads out at night, for the prom, to a friend’s house or anywhere else for that matter, make sure that you know where they’re going, who they’re going with and when they’ll be home. Don’t be afraid to reiterate the importance of safe and sober driving. Your talk could help to save their life.
If you or your teen driver has been injured or killed in an alcohol-related car accident in Chicago or in any of the surrounding areas, contact Abels & Annes for a free consultation to discuss your case. Call (866) 99-ABELS to speak directly to a lawyer now.
More Blog Entries:
Pair of fatal auto accidents in the Chicago area highlights dangers of drunk driving, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, July 14, 2011
Progress not perfection: Advocates vow to continue fight against Chicago car accidents caused by drunk drivers, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, September 10, 2010