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Next generation of drunk drivers are being made

For those people in Reading who never drink and drive, they may wonder what is going through the mind of people who are about to get behind the wheel even though they are intoxicated. Surely these soon-to-be drunk drivers have heard drunk driving statistics or seen stories of drunk drivers causing severe injuries or death on the news. So, what possesses them to get behind the wheel?

Although a recent study of 10th through 12th graders has not discovered exactly what is going through drunk driver's minds, it has found that individuals who have been exposed to drunk, impaired or drugged driving are more likely to then drive themselves while impaired. What this says about the future of drunk driving is that the intervention needs to start long before 21.

There are a frightening number of wrongful deaths that happen in and around Reading each year because of drunk drivers. Of course, some of the people who die are the drunk drivers themselves, but many more are their passengers, other drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and basically anyone that is on or near the road. Very few drunk drivers mean to hurt or kill anyone, but that does not change the fact that if they are driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, they can.

The recent study has found that the earlier and more frequently teenagers are exposed as passengers to impaired driving, the more likely they will be to drive while impaired. Targeting younger teenagers with messages of not riding in cars with people who are intoxicated (which is dangerous on its own), may be a good way to reduce the number of drunk drivers in generations to come.

Source: USA Today, “Riding with impaired drivers increases teens' DUI risks,” Michelle Healy, March 17, 2014

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