Fewer Teens Drink and Drive Where Licensing Laws Are Toughest

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Source: boston.com/lifestyle/health/2012/06/24/

Graduated drivers license programs may be successful in keeping young drivers who have been drinking from getting behind the wheel, according to research at Washington University in St. Louis.

Car accidents are the leading cause of death among teens aged 13 to 19, according to the study, and some states, including Massachusetts, have adopted graduated licensing laws that allow suspension of a teenager’s driver’s license for any alcohol-related charge.

The researchers used 1999 to 2009 national survey data for 220,000 teenagers ages 16 to 17 from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System to see whether a state’s driving laws correlated with teens’ drinking and driving behavior.

Teens who lived in states considered to have a strong graduated license program were nearly four times more likely than teens from states with a weak program to report not driving after drinking any alcohol and to report not being a passenger in a car with a driver who had been drinking.

BOTTOM LINE: Teens from states with strong graduated drivers license programs are less likely to report drinking and driving or getting in the car with a driver who had been drinking.

CAUTIONS: The survey relied on self-reports by the teens, so it is likely that some underreported their potentially stigmatizing behavior.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Alcoholism:

Clinical and Experimental Research, June

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Source: boston.com/lifestyle/health/2012/06/24/older-americans-feel-less-stressed-than-the-young/UMy8cHPxHyu0FqwsvzmW2M/story.html