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Chiropractic Research Review

Teenage Drinking and Driving: Trends and Observations

Drinking and driving is a significant cause of injury and death among young Americans today.

This article utilizes data gathered from more than a decade of annual national surveys to examine trends in teenage drinking and driving, specifically among American high-school seniors.

Professional interviewers administered a self-completed and confidential questionnaire to roughly 17,000 12th graders from more than 100 schools.

Results showed that rates of adolescent driving after drinking or riding with a driver who had been drinking declined significantly from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, but these declines did not continue in recent years:

* substantial improvement occurred between 1984-1995, most of which had occurred by 1992;

* no further improvement (and perhaps some relapse) occurred between 1995-1997;

* a very large number of students have exposed themselves to alcohol-impaired driving, even at the lowest points.

The authors suggest that the most important conclusion to be drawn from this study is that drinking and driving among adolescents can be changed over time, as evidenced by the substantial declines between 1984-1992. However, they also note the recent leveling and perhaps, increase in rates of drinking (and driving) among students, and suggest that new prevention efforts may be necessary.

OMalley PM, Johnston LD. Drinking and driving among U.S. high school seniors, 1984-1997. American Journal of Public Health, May 1999:89(5), pp678-684.

Chiropractic Research Review

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