Longitudinal examination of underage drinking and subsequent drinking and risky driving

J Safety Res. 2006;37(5):443-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2006.06.002. Epub 2006 Nov 22.


Introduction: Alcohol use, alcohol misuse, and risky driving from adolescence into young adulthood were compared by drinking onset age.

Methods: Surveys were administered in Grades 5/6, 6/7, 7/8, 10, 12, and at approximately age 23. Participants were placed into Drinking Onset groups based on self-reported alcohol use frequency on the adolescent surveys. Driving records were examined in three age periods: under 21, 21-25, and 26+.

Results: The earliest drinking initiators reported higher alcohol use and misuse on each survey, and were more likely to have risky driving offenses before age 21 and to have alcohol driving offenses in all three age periods.

Discussion: The earliest drinking initiators engaged in risky drinking behavior and risky driving behavior that was consistently higher than those with later drinking initiation, beginning in adolescence and persisting well into young adulthood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Risk-Taking*
  • United States / epidemiology