Myth: Drinking is just a phase all kids go through; they’ll grow out of it.
Fact: Many don’t grow out of it. Those who start drinking before they’re 21 are more likely to drink more later in life versus those who do not drink until they are 21. And, they continue this pattern through their 20s.
And while we wait for them to “grow out of it”, they’re:
dying in car crashes (an average of eight American youth under age 21 die every day in alcohol-related crashes);
getting hurt in accidents such as falls, burns, and drowning;
contracting sexually transmitted diseases;
becoming teenage parents;
committing crimes (physical assault, sexual assault, vandalism, robbery, theft, homicide, etc.);
becoming physical and sexual assault victims; and
costing society a considerable amount of money.
About 45% of those who die in crashes, involving a drinking driver under the ages of 21, are people other than the driver.
About 5,000 youth under the age of 21 die annually as a result of alcohol-related injuries. 38% of those deaths involve car accidents, 32 percent result from homicides, and about 6 percent result from suicides.
Twenty-eight percent (28%) of 15- to 20-year-old drivers who were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2005 had been drinking.