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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Fatalities and Binge Drinking Among High School Students: A Critical Issue to Emergency Department and Trauma Centers

  • Author(s): Lotfipour, Shahram
  • Cisneros, Victor
  • Chakravarthy, Bharath
  • et al.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a significant data and trends related to drinking and driving among U.S. high school students. National data from 1991-2011 shows an overall 54% linear decrease (from 22% to 10.3%) in the prevalence of drinking and driving among U.S. high school students aged > 16 years. In 2011, this still represents approximately 950,000 high school students in the age range of 16-19 years. The decrease in drinking and driving among teens is not fully understood, but it is believed to be due to policy developments, enforcement laws, graduated licenses, and economical impacts that have influenced the reduction of alcohol-related fatal crashes among adolescents.1-5 Most significant to emergency physicians is that even with these restrictions, in 2010, approximately 2,700 teens (ages 16-19) were killed in the United States and about 282,000 were treated and released from EDs for injuries suffered in motor-vehicle accidents.6,7 In the same year, one in five drivers between the ages of 16-19 were involved in fatal crashes and had positive (>0.00%) blood alcohol concentration (BAC).1 We present finding from the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report with commentary on current recommendations and policies for reducing drinking and driving among adolescents. [West J Emerg Med. 2013;14(3):271–274.]

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