Top Menu

Parents Influence Teens’ Decisions About Drunk or Drugged Driving, Study Finds


Teenagers whose parents drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs are far more likely to drive under the influence themselves compared with teens whose parents don’t drive after using drugs or alcohol, according to a new government study.

The study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is based on a survey of 67,500 people ages 12 and older. The survey found that overall, 11.5 percent of youths ages 16 and 17 drove under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the previous year.

More than 18 percent of 16- and 17-year-olds who lived with a mother who drove under the influence of alcohol or drugs had also driven under the influence, compared with 11 percent of teens who lived with a mother who didn’t use drugs or alcohol before driving.

HealthDay reports 21.4 percent of teenagers who lived with a father who drove under the influence also engaged in this risky behavior, compared with 8.4 percent of teens whose fathers did not engage in drugged or drunk driving.

“Parents play a key role in preventing drunk and drugged driving, beginning with setting a good example,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde said in a news release. “Parents who drink, or drug, and drive not only put their lives and the lives of others at immediate risk, but increase the likelihood that their children will follow down this destructive path.”

3 Responses to this article

  1. Ben House / December 10, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Government research to prove Cindy’s point. I like E. Larsen, “What we experience we practice, what we practice we learn, what we learn we become.” And yes, “Mirror mirror on the wall, Oh my G> I am my father after all!”

  2. Avatar of cindy schildhauer
    cindy schildhauer / December 7, 2011 at 3:25 pm


  3. Lisa Frederiksen - / December 7, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Often, I’ve found, parents are not aware of how little it takes to be impaired while driving, which helps explain, in part, how a person may “choose” to drink and drive.

Leave a Reply

Please read our comment policy and guidelines before you submit a comment. Your email address will not be published. Thank you for visiting

nine − = 7

Reproduction in whole or in part of this publication is strictly prohibited without prior consent. Photographic rights remain the property of Join Together and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. For reproduction inquiries, please e-mail