Younger people are more likely than older people to become involved in an impaired driving accident or to otherwise drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. NewsOK recently looked at the prevalence of impaired driving among young adults as well as looking at the consequences of impaired driving for young people.
Young Adults and OWI Charges
Young people between the ages of 21 and 24 are actually the demographic group with the greatest number of impaired driving accidents. One in three situations where a deadly accident occurs and the driver is found to be impaired with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above .08 involve a driver who is between the ages of 21 and 24. Furthermore, 23 percent of incidents in which an accident happens and the driver is found to have consumed alcohol involves someone who is between the ages of 21 and 24. This demographic group of 21 to 24 year olds is most likely to be the group who is impaired, followed by drivers 25 to 34 and then the demographic group of drivers age 35 to 44.
Younger drivers are also more likely than older drivers to find it acceptable to use cannabis products before driving. As the rates of drivers impaired by alcohol have declined in recent decades, there have been increases in the number of drugged drivers. This problem is only expected to be exacerbated as more states move towards the legalization of cannabis and the use of cannabis becomes more socially acceptable.
NewsOK indicates young people may be more likely than older people to consume alcohol and drive because young people tend to believe they are invincible and they will never be the ones who end up in a collision or facing arrest. Obviously, this aura of invincibility is unfounded but young people's brains are not as fully developed as the brains of adults and young adults often make different decisions than adults would.
Unfortunately, young people may face more lasting consequences when they end up arrested for operating while impaired than adults do. This is because young people could face disciplinary actions by their colleges, and could be prevented from pursuing further activities in higher education as a result of a conviction for operating while impaired on their records. Older people are more likely to already have their degrees and their careers underway, so will not face the same level of limitations due to a conviction for impaired driving.
Young people convicted of operating while impaired could be prevented from certain career opportunities due to their record, and due to the fact they no longer have a clean driver's license. The cost of impaired driving is also very expensive, when factoring in fines, court costs, the cost of license restoration, the costs of higher insurance, and other expenditures associated with a conviction. Young people frequently have a difficult time affording the expenses associated with conviction and can end up in debt because of a charge of OWI.