Legal or not, the reality is that many teens drink. A 2013 survey showed that half of all 10th graders admitted that they drank alcohol. Across the US, licensed drivers under 21 are responsible for 17% of fatal alcohol related crashes, even though only 10% of licensed drivers are under 21.
Teenaged drivers and their passengers are hurt and/or killed in motor vehicle accidents for a number of reasons. They are less likely than other age groups to wear seatbelts, and they also fall prey to distractions such as cell phone use and texting.
Although distracted driving has received a lot of much needed attention, it is important not to forget that drinking and driving is still a major contributor to teen car accidents. For example, it was found that male drivers between 15-20 who were in fatal crashes in 2012, were speeding 37% of the time and had been drinking a quarter of the time.
Many teens are not as careful about riding with impaired drivers as they should be, A 2013 national survey revealed that over the last month, 22% had ridden in a car with someone who had been drinking. In the same month, 10% of students that drove admitted to drinking and driving.