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February 21st, 2012

Teen Risk of DUI Increases If Parents Drive Drunk

According to a new federal study, teenagers whose parents drive under the influence  of alcohol or drugs may be more likely to emulate these dangerous practices themselves.

That is not exactly what Houston car accident attorneys would call a shocker, but the study does confirm that good parental influence is probably one of the foremost factors in preventing teen DUI accidents.

The study also finds that fathers’ drunk driving habits influence teenage motorists much more than mothers’ driving habits do. More than 18 percent of teenagers aged between 16 and 17 years, living with a mother driving under the influence, were likely to do so. In comparison, 21.4 percent of teenagers whose fathers drove under the influence were likely to do so themselves.
Parents may not think much of having a couple of drinks before driving, and may not realize that a couple of drinks affect teenage drivers differently than adult drivers. Teenagers have a lower capacity to absorb alcohol, and also tend to overestimate their own capacity to handle alcohol.

As result, imitating parental behavior in drinking and driving could have disastrous consequences for a teenage driver, who may be much more intoxicated than he or she knows.

Parents in Harris County, which has some of the highest drunk driving accident rates in the country, must make special note of these findings. With some of the most lenient laws against drunk driving around, and the absence of sobriety checkpoints to crack down on intoxicated drivers, Houston and the rest of the Harris County region see some of the highest incidence of drunk driving in Texas.

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