A new study conducted by Colorado State University found that teenage drivers or those who had recently graduated from high school were very likely to have been inside a car with someone who is abusing alcohol or drugs. More than 33% of the study respondents indicated that they had been in a car at least one time over the past year with someone using illicit drugs, marijuana, or alcohol. The risks of riding with an impaired driver were much higher for peers than with older adult drivers as other teenage drivers are already at risk for serious accidents.

Some individuals had a much higher risk of riding in a car with an impaired driver, including those who attended the technology school and those who didn’t go to a four-year college. Anyone who lived on campus or lived on their own also had a higher risk of driving with an impaired driver.

Even if the teen is not the one engaging in impaired driving, the risk of an accident is present. A high chance of serious accidents applies with all teens behind the wheel, but teenagers should also be aware of other accident-related problems surrounding riding in a car with a risky driver. 

Any instance of driving with an impaired driver in the person’s past was also associated with a high risk of being with someone who is under the influence currently. Engagements in even one type of risky behavior can increase the chances that the drivers will participate in other risky behaviors. Those young adults who rode with impaired drivers as teenagers were more likely to get behind the wheel while impaired in the future. If you have already been involved in a serious accident with someone who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, this information may lead to a criminal as well as a civil case.  

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