According to data gathered by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, approximately one in seven teens is a binge drinker, but only one in 100 parents knows.

It is not uncommon for students attending college near Grand Forks to succumb to temptations such as binge drinking with their peers, which can translate to underage drinking and driving.

A little background

Drinking alcohol is illegal for anyone under the age of 21, yet the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention advises that young people between the ages of 12 and 20 imbibe 11 percent of all the alcohol consumed in the U.S.—and further, that binge drinking accounts for 90 percent of that total.

What it is

Researchers developed the parameters of binge drinking using the experiences of college students. A binge refers to a pattern of imbibing alcoholic beverages that brings the drinker’s blood alcohol concentration level to 0.08 percent or above. For men, this amounts to about five drinks in a period of two hours, and four or more for women.

Binge drinking is more common among men than women, but when surveyed, most people who are younger than 21 admitted to having engaged in this activity. Although binge drinking is generally not addictive, young people who try it may become dependent on alcohol to some degree as they mature.

The decision to drive

There are many health issues associated with heavy drinking, such as liver disease, heart problems and high blood pressure. But the immediate concern relative to young drinkers is their belief that driving will not be a problem. Unfortunately, the amount of alcohol a binge drinker consumes will result in impairment on many fronts, including poor judgment, blurry vision and slow reflexes.

Binge drinkers endanger themselves and other drivers, may run into trouble with campus police and could face arrest for DUI, which would result in penalties such as fines, community service, possible expulsion from school and more. Binge drinking might be a popular thing to do, but the consequences of drinking and driving could have a devastating effect on a young person’s life.