The “old college try” is not something that should ever be associated with drunk driving, but unfortunately a new study shows that this is not the case for most of today’s college students.

Bloomberg Businessweek is reporting that 20 percent of college students admitted to drunk driving in a study from the August issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.  Even worse, 40 percent of — or two out of every five — college students have also acknowledged riding in the car with a drunk driver.

One in five college students have driven under the influence of alcohol.

“Drinking and Driving endangers the safety of not only the drinking driver and passengers, but also other individuals on the road,” said  director of the Center on Young Adult Health and Development at the University of Maryland School of Public Health as well as a co-author of the study.  “College students have limited driving experience, making drinking and driving possibly even more hazardous.”

This study tracked more than 1,250 freshman college students (some of them still teenage drivers) at a large mid-Atlantic university.  Study participants were interviewed once a year in their four years at college about driving intoxicated, driving after a few drinks and even riding with a drunk driver.  According to reports, this study was the first of its kind in that it monitored changes in students’ behavior as they got older.

“[While] other studies have examined drinking and driving among college students, to our knowledge this is the first to have examined how the behavior changes over time in the same sample of students,” according to the report.

So let’s take a look at the results of this drunk driving study on college students:

  • Male college students are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, like drunk driving, than their female counterparts.
  • Half of the students under the legal drinking age of 21 said they’ve driven after drinking within the past year.
  • 20 percent of underage students have driven drunk.
  • 43 percent of 20-year-olds have ridden in the car with a drunk driver.
  • Risks of drunk driving increase as college students get older.

“This study tends to demonstrate that alcohol-related problem behaviors increase with age, perhaps due to greater opportunities for risk taking such as owning a car or the ability to patronize bars and purchase alcohol,” said a senior scientist and director of the Impaired Driving Center at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.

Both experts agree that these results indicate that lowering the legal drinking age could have dire consequences, and our personal injury attorneys couldn’t agree more.  Teenage drivers engage in enough risky behaviors, let’s not add drunk driving to it.

If you were injured in a car accident with a drunk driver, you may be entitled to a settlement.  Contact our bilingual offices anytime, day or night, at 1-858-551-2090 for a FREE Consultation or click here to submit your case for a FREE Online Review.  Our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you owe nothing until we recover money at the end of your insurance claim.