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Linda Snyder - Director of Marketing
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Teen Dies in Alcohol Related Car Crash(2)

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According to the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, police say two 18-year old men had been drinking at a party before the vehicle they were riding in rolled early Saturday, killing one and critically injuring the other.

Neither was wearing a seatbelt and both were ejected. The passenger, Evan Kinnan, died in the one-car crash on Woodmen Road, and the driver, Craig Milos, suffered severe head injuries and was listed in critical condition at Penrose main hospital.

“Alcohol is definitely involved – there is no maybe,” said police Lt. Patricia Feese.

Investigators are still looking into how the teenagers obtained the alcohol at a party in the Peregrine neighborhood, in northwest Colorado Springs, Feese said.

Kids have been drinking and driving ever since there has been alcohol and vehicles (both motorized and non-motorized). Yet, today the statistics are hitting epidemic numbers. So, why are drunk driving accidents involving under-age drinkers seem so much worse today, than even 10 years ago? Is there more publicity, more public awareness? Do young drivers have easier access to cars today? Easier access to alcohol? Is there less accountability to parents or authority figures?

Consider these statistics:

• In 2006, an estimated 17,602 people died in alcohol-related traffic crashes–an average of one every 30 minutes. These deaths constitute 41 percent of the 42,642 total traffic fatalities. Of these, an estimated 13,470 involved a driver with an illegal BAC (.08 or greater).
• Approximately 1.4 million drivers were arrested in 2004 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. This is an arrest rate of 1 for every 139 licensed drivers in the United States (2005 data not yet available).
• According to MADD, in 2006, these students reported that alcohol is “very easy” or “fairly easy” to get.
• 92.5 percent of twelfth graders
• 83 percent of tenth graders
• 63 percent of eighth graders
• Male drivers involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes are almost twice as likely as female drivers to be intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or greater (NHTSA 2006). It is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.08% or higher in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

• At all levels of blood alcohol concentration, the risk of being involved in a crash is greater for young people than for older people (Zador et al. 2000). In 2005, 16% of drivers ages 16 to 20 who died in motor vehicle crashes had been drinking alcohol (NHTSA 2006).
• Young men ages 18 to 20 (under the legal drinking age) reported driving while impaired more frequently than any other age group (Shults et al. 2002, Quinlan et al. 2005).

It seems that underage drinkers have no problems getting alcohol and they certainly don’t have any problems getting a vehicle to drive. Is there a cure for this under-age drinking and driving epidemic?