The recent serious injury of a teenager in an alcohol-related crash on Palm Beach Boulevard is a reminder of the risks as we head into the deadliest time of year for drunk-driving collisions.
The News-Press reported the teenager was injured when a pickup, believed driven by an intoxicated male, crossed the median and crashed head-on into the victim’s vehicle.
Our injury lawyers in Fort Myers and Cape Coral know COVID-19 has upended nearly every aspect of life. However, autumn is expected to remain the deadliest time of the year for drunk driving accidents, including those involving teenagers.
Traditionally, college and pro football season starts the long season of risk each fall, which culminates with the year-end holidays. Typically at this time of year, many teenagers are just getting their driver’s license, or experiencing the freedom of going off to college or living on their own for the first time.
Drunk-Driving Risks & COVID-19
Initially, the pandemic significantly reduced the risks on the road as people stayed home and large events and gatherings were cancelled. Closed bars or clubs with significantly restricted hours and occupancy, also helped mitigate the risks.
However, there is emerging evidence that the pandemic isolation has come at a significant cost to mental health. Nielsen reports alcohol sales in stores were up 54% in late March compared to that time last year, while online sales were up nearly 500% in late April.
The National Institutes of Health reports the isolation, stress and financial strains of the COVID-19 pandemic significantly increase the risks of alcohol abuse. There is additional evidence that growing numbers of people in Southwest Florida are ignoring social-distancing guidelines, either cavalierly or because of the demands of school or work. This is particularly true among young people, who statistically are the most likely to abuse alcohol.
Teen Risks of Drunk Driving
Our personal injury law firm has been fighting for the rights of victims since 1971. We deal with the consequences of these preventable tragedies every day. Please be proactive with the young drivers in your family, set clear expectations and lead by example. Consider:
- 70% of all teenagers admit to drinking alcohol.
- Every 15 minutes a teenager will die due to drunk driving.
- 60% of all teen deaths from car accidents involve alcohol.
We urge you to make time with your teenager at the start of the school year to sign a teen driving contract, like the one provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Such an agreement should address the big three risks — drunk driving, distracted driving, and aggressive driving. It should also mandate seatbelt use at all times.
By setting clear expectations at the start of the school year, you will be paving the road to a safe and joyous holiday season.
If you or a loved one is injured, call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.