The following is a news release from the Oregon Department of Transportation Safety Division
Spring break usually means fun times: students head to the beach, hit the ski slopes, or take day trips with friends. For some, it's also a time of the year that includes alcohol - and that can lead to disaster, according to Oregon Department of Transportation Youth Safety Program Manager Sue Reihl.
"Oregon's zero-tolerance law makes it illegal for minors to drink or possess alcohol," Riehl said. "Although we've made great strides in reducing crashes involving underage drinking, we still lose young people every year in these situations, and that's tragic."
Over the past 10 years, 166 people in Oregon have died in crashes where the driver, aged 15 to 20, had been drinking. But it's not just alcohol that impairs a driver's ability to be safe. Drugs like THC (the active ingredient in marijuana), amphetamines, cocaine, methadone, morphine and others have been used by drivers aged 15 - 20 involved in fatal crashes as well.
Driving is a skill and takes concentration and focus no matter what your age. When a driver's skill and concentration are impaired due to alcohol or drugs, the consequences can be deadly. That's one of the reasons that teenagers in Oregon who are caught possessing or using alcohol or illegal drugs in cars or elsewhere can lose their license for at least one year - even if they don't have one yet, and even if they weren't driving.
Below are a few websites where young people can learn helpful facts about underage drinking and find tips for safe driving:
http://www.thecoolspot.gov/ - The Cool Spot is an interactive site where you can learn about being yourself, thinking for yourself and getting the facts about underage drinking.
http://www.abovetheinfluence.com/ - The Office of National Drug Control Policy's campaign, "Above the Influence", is aimed at helping youth discover their own reasons and inspiration to avoid drugs and alcohol.
www.friendsdrivesober.org - This site includes resources for students and community groups.
http://www.radd.org - The entertainment industry's voice for road safety encourages young people to make responsible choices about alcohol, drugs and driving.
http://www.toosmarttostart.samhsa.gov/default.aspx - This site includes downloadable materials, interactive games and exercises to help prevent underage drinking.