Getting your hands on some booze is a lot easier than you may think, according to local teens. Although the legal drinking age is 21 in the state of Florida, there are a whole lot of underage spring breakers planning to throw some back during their vacation. With the break quickly approaching, parents are asked to talk with their teens about the dangers associated with binge drinking alcohol, as well as the risk of drunk driving car accidents in Fort Myers.
Underage drinking and driving is nothing new. According to the Mayo Clinic, hospitalizations related to underage drinking cost the country nearly $800 million in 2008. A lot of these hospitalizations occur during school breaks, particularly during the week-long stretches in the winter and spring, as well as throughout the summer.
Our Fort Myers teen car accident attorneys know that a number of youth will be hitting the local beaches for spring break. What’s important is that we talk to our young drivers about the dangers of binge drinking alcohol. Not only is it illegal for them to drink at all, but it can quickly prove fatal. Parents throughout the state are urged to sit down and talk to their teenagers about these risks before they’re released from school for that much-anticipated break.
In 2008, the Mayo Clinic estimated that there were approximated 36,620 hospital admissions for alcohol intoxication, abuse, dependence, withdrawal and other related problems among underage drinkers, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Of these admissions, the average underage drinkers was 18-years-old. More than 60 percent of these admissions were men. Even though men made up a majority of the admissions back in 2008, more recent statistics reveal there’s been a “cultural shift,” and women are now more likely than men to seek treatment for alcohol problems.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a third of drivers who were under the age of 21-years-old and were killed in car accidents in 2009 had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .01 or higher, meaning they were under the influence of some kind of alcohol. Nearly 30 percent of these young drivers who died during that year were legally drunk behind the wheel, or they had a BAC of .08 or higher. In 2009, there were nearly 1,120 drivers between the ages of 15- and 20-years-old who were under the influence of alcohol when they were involved in a fatal car accident. Nearly 900 fatal accidents involved an underage teen driver with a BAC of at least .08.
Typically, weekends and evenings are the most common times to see alcohol-related car accidents on our Florida roadways. That’s all out the window when spring break is here. Teens will be out on the beach and on our roadways nearly all day and night during their week away from school. Parents are urged to talk with teens about the risks associated with alcohol consumption. Residents are urged to be cautious while driving to avoid an accident with an alcohol-impaired driver.
We live in a beautiful area with popular spring break destinations right down the road. Let’s preserve the fun and excitement of spring break and urge our young ones to celebrate responsibly and soberly as well.
Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, is a law firm dedicated to helping those who have injured in teen car accidents and alcohol-related car accidents in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Naples, Cape Coral and elsewhere through Southwest Florida. Call us today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. 1-800-283-2900.
The (Partial) Cost of Underage Drinking, by Katherine Hobson, The Wall Street Journal
More Blog Entries:
Anti-Texting Laws around the Corner to Decrease Risks of Car Accidents in Florida, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, February 22, 2012
Passengers Increasing Risks for Teen Car Accidents in Naples, Nation, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, February 8, 2012