Sometimes it takes a national news story to draw attention to problems that exist everywhere. On July 21st, 2017, 18-year-old Obdulia Sanchez was driving under the influence, with two minors in the backseat. Her sister was not wearing a seat belt and died when Obdulia crashed into a fence.
Though the story might have made national news anyway, the fact that Ms. Sanchez livestreamed parts of it on Instagram guaranteed wide exposure. During the live video, she confessed to killing her sister and expressed that she knew that she would go to jail.
Sadly, Ms. Sanchez is not alone in putting other teens at risk, and teenage drunk driving is much more common than most people think. Sobering statistics include:
- Drivers too young to legally drink are responsible for 17 percent of fatal DUI accidents
- 1 out of 10 high schoolers drinks and drives
- Young people who drink and drive also have a higher tendency to binge drink (85 percent of teens who admit drunk driving also admit binge drinking), increasing the likelihood of driving while severely intoxicated
The story of Obdulia Sanchez is a tragedy and one that could happen to any parent. Though Obdulia and her sister have been the focus of the story, the other teenager in the car suffered a significant leg injury. Her parents likely had little indication that she was in such a dangerous predicament and that her life was at risk when they let her get into a car with an 18-year-old driver.
If you or your child has been injured in an accident with a drunk driver, knowing your legal rights can be difficult, especially as the law can be different regarding underage passengers. Please, retain an experienced attorney who can help you sort through the incident and guide you on how to proceed.