The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting that the number of teenagers who drink alcohol and then get behind the wheel of a car are dwindling significantly, down by 54 percent in the past twenty years. CNN.com reports that the problem, though decreasing, is still killing as many as 2,000 American teenagers each year:
In 2011, when asked if they drink and drive, 90% of the high school students 16 and older surveyed by the CDC said they did not.
However, "motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death among teens in this country. There are more than 2,000 teens aged 16-19 killed each year and many of those deaths are alcohol-related," said CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden. "Almost a million high school teens aged 16 and over drove after drinking alcohol in 2011 and we calculate that high school teens were responsible for about 2.4 million episodes of drinking and driving a month."
The report also tells us that 85% of students who admitted to driving after drinking also participated in binge drinking in the past 30 days.
Frieden explained that drinking and driving is especially risky for younger drivers, who are 17 times more likely to die in an accident when alcohol is involved.
Image: Teen drinking beer, via Shutterstock