Does riding with DUI drivers increase a teenagers DUI risk

According to a recent study I saw, teenagers who drove with a drunk driver are significantly more likely to drink and drive themselves. This study I’m referencing not only suggested that teens are more likely to get a DUI if they were a passenger in a car, but also if a teenager gets their license early they are also more likely to get a DUI. So I’m not sure what to make of this study.

On one hand I think there might be some truth to the notion that if a teenager rides as a passenger in a vehicle where the driver has been drinking, they themselves might someday drink and drive. This is probably indicative of the group of friends this teenage might have. And I’m sure if it’s a common practice then it is only a matter of time before some gets caught.

However the idea that getting a license earlier increases the chances of getting a DUI is just stupid. Of course the longer a person drives the chances of them getting cited for an infraction, or for a DUI if they consume alcohol is greater. To put that in this study is kind of stupid and probably doesn’t serve much of a purpose, Unless there is some agenda to increase the minimum age a driver must turn in order to qualify for a drivers license.

Being a father of two I constantly ask myself how would I deal with certain situations when they get older. Obviously drinking and driving is a big issue and I’m sure lots of parents have a talk about it. I think I may have blogged about my family’s rule when I was in high school. My parents recognized there would probably be some times in high school where I would be around alcohol. And I may or may not drink.

But the “golden rule” in my house was under no circumstances was I to drink and drive. On more than one occasion I remember my Dad telling me to call him no matter the place or the time and he would come pick me up. We would deal with the consequences of me drinking after, but under no circumstances was I to drive. But he never said anything about being in a car with someone who had been drinking.

And I think this study raises an interesting issue. But I look at it in a different light. As a Seattle DUI Lawyer I see every day how a single drink or even two can turn deadly. So this study got me thinking. I will also have the talk with my girls and explain the “golden rule” my parents used but I will also tell them under no circumstances are they to get into the same car with another teenager if they have consumed a drop of alcohol. I will pick them up, heck I will even pick up their friend. I say this not because I think it will increase their chances of getting a DUI in the future, but solely because of their safety.

About the author: Matthew Leyba is a DUI Lawyer in Seattle. He is rated as a 10/10 by and is listed as a Super Lawyer Rising Star by the Seattle Met Magazine in the field of DUI Defense.