St. Louis DUI Accident Prevention Focus of Alcohol Awareness Month

St. Louis DUI Accident Prevention Focus of Alcohol Awareness Month

A St. Louis driver was recently sentenced to nine years in prison after prosecutors say he caused two crashes – one fatal and the other involving a 9-year-old girl – in a time frame of just eight months.

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In the first incident, the 26-year-old man crashed his vehicle traveling 95 miles-per-hour in a 25-mile-per-hour zone, killing his 21-year-old friend and passenger. Both alcohol and marijuana were found in his system. He was on probation for that crash and was ordered to submit to random drug-testing. Just a few months later, he struck an 11-year-old girl as she exited a fast-food restaurant. He sped away, leaving her seriously injured in the street.

Drunk driving accident lawyers in St. Louis know this case highlights what is so often the real problem behind this issue: Substance abuse and addiction. As April is National Alcohol Awareness Month, it’s a good time to point out that effectively addressing these problems would go a long way toward curbing drunk driving – and all the devastation that comes along with it.

One of the best ways to do this is to target teenagers – before their drinking becomes a major problem.

A survey recently conducted by Mothers Against Drunk Driving found that teens whose parents conveyed the message that underage drinking was completely unacceptable were more than 80 percent less likely to consume alcohol than peers whose parents were more lax on the issue.

Of those teens whose parents found drinking underage totally unacceptable, only 8 percent said they drank regularly.

Teens who don’t drink until they get to the age of 21, are 80 percent less likely to abuse alcohol or become dependent on alcohol, as compared to those who start drinking before they turn 15. Those same individuals are also going to be 70 percent less likely to decide to drive after they’ve had too much alcohol to drink.

It’s estimated that about 10,000 people die annually in motor vehicle accidents, and about 4,700 deaths are attributed to underage drinking, according to MADD.

The key, advocates say, is working hard to encourage teens to delay that first drink. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reports that each day, 7,000 minors under the age of 16 take their first drink. About a quarter of those are pre-disposed to alcohol use disorders, according to their family histories. That makes them more prone to develop a dependency on alcohol, which in turn makes them more likely to become involved in an alcohol-related crash.

The NCADD recommends that youth be instructed on the following:

    • Know when to say no – and do not be afraid to do it. Peer pressure can be powerful, but never allow someone else to make your decisions for you.
    • If you find that most of your close friends are regularly drinking, smoking or using drugs, it’s time to branch out and expand your network of friends.
    • Understand that adding alcohol and drugs to your life is not a true escape, and in the end, only creates more problems.
    • Plan ahead. Before going out to a party with your friends, protect yourself and be smart. Make sure that there is someone you can always call if there is a problem.
    • Never, ever get in a car with someone who has been drinking, and never drive after drinking yourself.

More Blog Entries:
St. Louis DUI Accidents – Defendants Seeking Legal Loopholes, March 14, 2014, St. Louis Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog

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Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC

Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC is a litigation law firm that represents individuals and families in serious personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout Missouri. We help people who have been injured in all types of accidents—including car or truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall accidents, and much more. Whether your injury is something that can cause long-term issues like a brain injury or spinal cord injury, or it is something you’ll likely make a full recovery from, we are here to help.

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