Auto Accidents and College Alcohol Abuse

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Auto accidents and college alcohol abuse are two of the leading public health problems in the United States.

College Students and Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol

Each year more than 16,000 people die due to alcohol related motor vehicle accidents. In addition, 310,000 injuries per year are the result of alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes. Studies have shown that those who are most likely to drive under the influence of alcohol are the following:

  1. Underage drivers between the ages of 15 and 20

  2. Young adults between the ages of 21 and 34

  3. Individuals who repeatedly drive after drinking, often with excessive amounts of alcohol in their blood

Due to the fact that college students are "members" of all three of these "problem" drinking groups and since alcohol is the drug of choice among college students, it can be determined that auto accidents and college alcohol abuse are two of the leading public health problems in this country.

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Statistics on Auto Accidents and College Alcohol Abuse

The following represents some of the key statistics on automobile accidents and college alcohol abuse:

  • Each year, approximately 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking. his includes about 1,900 deaths from motor vehicle accidents.

  • A recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study discovered that binge drinkers are far more likely to be involved in car accidents than non-binge drinkers. Since more than 44% of full-time American college students reported involvement in binge drinking at least one time during the previous 30-day period, it can be concluded that many of the auto accidents experienced by college students were the result of alcohol abuse such as binge drinking.

  • According to one study, alcohol use is a factor in 40% to 60% of auto accidents resulting in personal injury or death among college students.

  • According to a 1999 report by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 6,374 youth from the ages of 15 to 20 were killed in auto accidents. Alcohol use was documented in 2,238 (35%) of these fatalities.

  • Young people are over-represented in driving accidents involving alcohol. In a recent year, people from the age of 16 to 24 were involved in 28 percent of all alcohol-related driving accidents, although they make up only 14% of the U.S. population. Young people are also over-represented in drinking driver injuries and fatalities.

  • In 2005, 2.1 million college students between the ages of 18 and 24 reported driving under the influence of alcohol.

  • According to a study undertaken by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University in 2005, every year, 1,400 American college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related inadvertent injuries, including motor vehicle accidents, which accounted for the majority of the fatalities.

  • In one survey that focused on college drinking behavior during a one-month period of time, 27.4% of American college students across the nation had driven a motor vehicle after drinking alcohol during this one-month time period.

  • In 1998, 1,668 drivers from the ages of 16 to 20 were involved in alcohol-related fatal motor vehicle crashes. Another 21,000 were involved in alcohol-related crashes that resulted in injury.

Conclusion: Auto Accidents and College Alcohol Abuse

Studies have shown that those who are most likely to drive under the influence of alcohol are the following: young adults between the ages of 21 and 34, individuals who repeatedly drive after drinking, often with excessive amounts of alcohol in their blood, and underage drivers between the ages of 15 and 20.

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Since college students are "members" of all three of these "problem" drinking groups and due to the fact that alcohol is the drug of choice among college students, it can be concluded that auto accidents and college alcohol abuse are two of the leading public health problems in the United States.

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