This Summer… Don’t Risk It

Summer is a time to have fun and to build lasting memories. It’s also a time when risky behaviors often increaseincluding underage drinking, drug use, and impaired or distracted driving. Risky behavior can not only put you in danger, but also your friends and others around you…

Even the most relaxing summer activities can become dangerous when alcohol is involved. Drinking impairs both physical and mental abilities, and it also decreases inhibitions—which can lead to tragic consequences on the water, on the road, and in the great outdoors. In fact, research shows that up to 70 percent of all water recreation deaths of teens and adults involve the use of alcohol.

What are the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer?

Car crashes are the #1 killer of teens, taking about 3,000 young lives every year. The most dangerous time on the road for teens is the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day each year, known as the ‘deadliest days’ of summer. As a teen, you are 3X more likely to be in a fatal crash than a more experienced driver. Any impairment behind the wheel (by alcohol, drugs, texting, or other distractions) greatly increases the risk.

Do you know the dangers of impaired and distracted driving?

Depending on how they interact with the brain, drugs can influence someone’s ability to drive in different ways. For example, marijuana can slow reaction time, impair judgment of time and distance, and decrease motor coordination. Drivers who have used cocaine or methamphetamines can be aggressive and reckless when driving. Certain kinds of sedatives, called benzodiazepines, can cause dizziness and drowsiness, which can lead to car crashes.

Alcohol impairment is just as dangerous. Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers with a BAC of .08 or higher. Young drivers (ages 16-20) are 17 times more likely to die in a crash when they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% than when they have not been drinking at all.

Distractions behind the wheel (like texting) are also a huge concern. Every day, 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in crashes involving distracted drivers. Even drivers looking out the windshield can miss seeing up to 50% of what’s around them when talking on a cell phone.

Remember that your actions can have devastating consequences that can change your life and the lives of others in an instant. Create your summer memories and live to enjoy them!

Sources: NSC, NHTSA, CDC, & NIH