Teens who ride with impaired drivers more likely to drive impaired: study

Bethesda, MD – Teens who ride with drivers who are impaired by drugs and/or alcohol may be more likely to drive impaired themselves, according to a recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Researchers used three years of data from a sample of about 2,500 10th graders as part of the NEXT Generation Health Study. They found that teens who claimed they had ridden with a driver impaired by drugs and/or alcohol were nearly 11 times more likely to drive under the influence once they got their license. This effect increased the more frequently and earlier in life the teen had ridden with an impaired driver.

Researchers concluded that efforts to prevent impaired driving among teens should focus on not permitting teens to ride with impaired drivers.

The study was published online March 17 in the journal Pediatrics.