Texas Leads The Nation in Teen DWI Fatalities
San Antonio, Texas – One of the most exciting experiences for a teen-ager is finally getting behind the wheel. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of many to prevent teen age drinking and driving, dozens of teens are injured or killed in South Texas every year due to DWI. Thanks to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), a program that shocks young drivers by dramatically showing the consequences of drunk driving will continue in Bexar County.
A $20,000 TABC grant to the South Texas Injury Prevention and Research Center (STIPRC) will help continue funding for the Shattered Dreams program in Bexar County. The program, targeting high school students, enables students to participate in a mock crash and witness firsthand the life and death consequences of poor decisions regarding alcohol use.
The event includes a “mock” memorial service for the victims, the arrest of the driver and an overnight stay in the trauma center at University Hospital. The aim of the program is to have participants fully realize the impact of the “Shattered Dreams” of direct and indirect victims. It’s a powerful experience that many students admit changes their opinions and behaviors.
Roberto Villarreal, M.D., M.P.H., Director of the South Texas Health Research Center and Principal Investigator, said thousands of teens will benefit. “This funding will enable STIPRC to expand the Shattered Dreams program to communities and schools located throughout Texas by providing technical assistance, program evaluation, and expansion of the Shattered Dreams Coalition.”
Texas leads the nation in the number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities among 16 to 20-year-old drivers and alcohol remains the drug of choice by young people in the United States. In fact, more young people in the United States drink alcohol than smoke tobacco or marijuana.
The most frightening statistic: In Texas, five out of ten high school students report having had at least one drink of alcohol, one out of five reports driving after drinking, and four out ten report riding with someone who had been drinking.
The South Texas Injury Prevention and Research Center is a program of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and funded by the University Health System. Its mission is to reduce injury-related death and disability and their impact among the people of South Texas through a combination of education, research, intervention programs, and public policy modification.