Children Riding With A Drunk Driver
A CDC study published in the May 3, 2000 issue
of the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates
that of the 5,555 child passengers younger than 15-years-old killed
in drinking driver-related crashes during 1985-1996, 64% (3,556)
were riding in the vehicle with the drinking driver.
The drinking driver was typically old enough to be the age of
the child's parent or caregiver.
Analyzing national crash data from the Fatality Analysis
Reporting System maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration, CDC researchers found that fatality rates for child
passengers killed while being transported by a drinking driver
declined from 1985 through 1990 but remained virtually unchanged
from 1991 through 1996. The
study also found that as the blood alcohol concentration of the
child's driver increased, child restraint use decreased.
authors recommend that strategies to specifically deter individuals
from drinking and driving with children in the vehicle should be
added to existing policies that deter
alcohol-impaired driving in general (e.g.,
administrative license revocation, mandatory substance abuse
assessment and treatment for DUI offenders).
Suggested strategies include the following:
Above information from a National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
- States should consider
lower legal blood alcohol limits for drivers transporting children.
- The effectiveness of current child endangerment laws
(special sanctions for drivers convicted of DUI with a child in the
vehicle) should be evaluated.
- Families can adopt their own zero alcohol tolerance
policy when transporting children.
- Health care providers can screen adult patients for
alcohol problems and provide them with or refer them to appropriate
- Health care providers can
include information on the dangers to child passengers when they
counsel their patients about the risks of alcohol-impaired driving.
- States should strictly enforce existing child safety
seat laws and pass primary seat belt laws that cover all children in
all seating positions in the vehicle.
*** Any law, statute, regulation or other precedent is subject to change at any time ***
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