At this time of the year, many people of all ages in North Carolina and other states start to feel the excitement of the holidays. Alcoholic drinks are offered at house parties and other gatherings, and the numbers of impaired drivers rise significantly. Unfortunately, some of the drivers are underage and inexperienced, increasing the risks of motor vehicle accidents and resulting injuries and deaths.
Safety authorities say the annual number of crash-related deaths that can be linked to alcohol impairment exceeds the combined number of such accidents involving heroin, cocaine and other illegal substances. For this reason, all 50 states have zero tolerance for underage impaired driving. Parents are urged to make sure their teenagers understand the risks posed by all medications — whether they are prescribed or over-the-counter drugs.
It is crucial for teens to learn to read the labels and other information in the packaging of OTC and prescription medications and pay particular attention to warnings about side effects such as drowsiness — not to mention the risks posed by taking different medications simultaneously. Driving while taking such drugs can be as dangerous as being impaired by alcohol. Parents might also be wise to remind their teenagers that the belief that a cold shower or a mug of coffee is a quick-fix is nothing but a myth.
North Carolina parents might also be smart to warn their non-driving children about the dangers of getting into a car with an impaired driver. Too many teenage passengers die in DUI motor vehicle accidents while the drunk drivers are often unscathed. Families who have to deal with such tragedies can consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help them to pursue relief of financial and emotional damages through the civil justice system of the state.