One of the biggest things in life that most teenagers look forward to is the ability to drive a care, legally, by themselves. The freedom of finally being able to go somewhere without having to rely on someone else can be exhilarating for a 16 yr old. So how can driving regulations possibly reduce the amount of underage alcohol consumption?
Several practices that were recommended by the U.S. Surgeon General are credited with lowering teenage drinking in recent years, as indicated by researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). The tactics have included restriction on young drivers being allwed to drive at night, and strict license suspension policies surrounding these regulations. In addition to the driving issue, additional areas of were partnerships between college campuses and the community, and routine screening by physicians to identify and counsel underage drinkers.
According to NIAAA acting director Kenneth Warren, Ph.D., “The downward trend in underage drinking and alcohol-related traffic deaths indicates that certain policies and programs put in place at the federal, state, and local levels have had an impact.”
Overeall alcohol use and heavy drinking have declined among 8th- 10th- and 12th-grade students. One study indicated that alcohol use among high school seniors dropped from more than 66 percent in 2007 down to 62 percent in 2013. While these aren’t dramatic results, it does show statistically valid improvement.
Of course laws and regulations alone cannot be the primary factors, but every little bit helps. Reducing underage drinking helps do cut down on traffic accidents, unwanted pregnancies, the spread of STDs and much more.