Alcohol and Teenage Driving: a Deadly Combination

Courtesy of Titusville

One in six teens in the U.S. drink and drive, killing more than 4,000 people each year according to the Underage Drinking Statistics from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

MADD offers prevention programs, not only to students, but parents as well.

Kristen Allen, the Victim Service Manager at MADD, said they are always ready to go out to schools that request one of their staff members come and speak to their students about underage drinking.

“MADD has been around for 35 years, in addition to our victim services, we also provide prevention programs, directed by our Program Specialist, Sophia Rayam,” Allen said. “We offer our Power of Youth and Power of Parents seminars, from elementary level to college level, free of charge, whenever requested of us.”

The percentage of teenagers in high school who reportedly drink and drive has dropped significantly since 1991 by 54 percent.

However, this does not cancel out the fact that there are still thousands of teens driving while under the influence. To bring more awareness to this matter, Leon County has birth different coalitions and programs over the years. Programs such as the Responsible Decision Making Coalition (RDMC), the Teen Driver Challenge Program, as well as Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

The RDMC strives to reduce underage drinking, binge drinking and other forms of substance abuse among the youth.

This coalition program has administered project initiative to work with Tallahassee’s colleges and universities, such as: Florida A&M University, Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College.

Tanesha Williams, Statewide Communications Coordinator, for the Teen Driver Challenge Program, says the purpose of this program is to address problems associated with driving under the influence.

“The Teen Driver Challenge Program is a defensive driver program for teenager,” Williams said. “We also address the problems associated with driving under the influence, amongst young drivers.”

The Teen Driver Challenge Program is a Florida Sheriff's Association affiliated program.

Officer Derek Braxton says he encounters more than 100 drunk driving teens annually.

“On average, I would say I encounter about 150 or so drunk teenagers behind the wheel, annually,” Braxton said. “The lucky ones don’t get in a car accident, but I spot them due to their driving behaviors. This behavior is not only seen in high school teens, however, they are ranging from high school teens to college teens.”

Due to some of these mentioned programs, the county continue to work and spread more awareness.