Liberty Mutual/SADD Study Reveals More Teens Drink and Drive on New Year's Eve Than on any Other Holiday

Before Ringing In the New Year, Parents Encouraged to Set Clear Ground Rules

Dec 27, 2011, 09:22 ET from Liberty Mutual Insurance

BOSTON, Dec. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- While New Year's Eve may conjure images of a celebratory toast, it's also traditionally one of the worst days of the year for alcohol related car crashes and deaths for young drivers.  And new data from a 2011 teen driving study by Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) reveals an interesting yet cautionary anomaly:  teens believe New Year's Eve is the most dangerous time of year to drive, yet it also is the holiday or event when teens most frequently drive under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.


According to the survey of nearly 2,300 eleventh and twelfth graders, when teen drivers were asked about how dangerous they feel certain events are for driving and the likelihood of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs on one of these events, New Year's Eve topped both lists. 


% of teens that view event as
very/extremely dangerous to drive

% of teens that have driven under
the influence of alcohol or drugs
after one of these events

New Year's Eve

49 percent

10 percent

4th of July

29 percent

8 percent

Prom Night

20 percent

6 percent

Graduation/Post Graduation

16 percent

4 percent


11 percent

6 percent

High School Football Games

8 percent

6 percent

Other School Dances/Events

8 percent

5 percent

The silver lining?  Passengers have a powerful influence over drivers.

The large majority of teen drivers say that they would stop driving under the influence of alcohol (94 percent) or marijuana (90 percent) if asked by a passenger. Interestingly, teen passengers say they would be significantly more likely to ask a peer to stop driving after drinking than after using marijuana (87 percent vs. 72 percent), and female passengers are more likely to speak up against either driving behavior than boys (90 percent vs. 83 percent for alcohol; 78 percent vs. 65 percent for marijuana).

"New Year's Eve is a time to celebrate both the past year and the possibilities of the year to come, yet far too often poor decisions by teens result in tragic injuries and deaths," said Stephen Wallace, Senior Advisor for Policy, Research, and Education at SADD.  "To avoid a fatal start to the New Year, teen passengers need to use their voices if they have concerns about their friends' behaviors. They will be heard."

Family Driving Rules

Parents, too, can play an important role to ensure safety is top of mind on New Year's Eve.  Liberty Mutual/SADD research shows that clear driving ground rules, with mutually agreed upon expectations, consequences and rewards, are effective in curbing unsafe driving behaviors by teens.  The Parent/Teen Contract at offers families a starting place to begin the safe driving conversation and set those rules.

"Prior to New Year's Eve, parents need to have a conversation with their teen drivers about the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and fatigue as well as how to be a good driver and a good passenger," said Dave Melton, a driving safety expert with Liberty Mutual and managing director of global safety.  "Teens also need to be prepared for dangerous behaviors of other drivers who will be impaired on New Year's Eve.  Having this important conversation provides an opportunity for parents to share their concerns and determine rules and consequences that help their teen driver make healthy, safe choices for themselves and their friends, so they don't become another headline."

Additional helpful tools and resources about how to be a safe and responsible driver can be found at  The website provides state-by-state teen driving laws, tips on driving in inclement weather, practice permit tests, and video demonstrations of safe driving techniques, including parallel parking. Other important safety information can be found at

About the Study

Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD commissioned ORC International, an InfoGroup Company, to conduct a qualitative and quantitative study to measure teen driving attitudes and behaviors. The study was initiated with a series of four focus groups held in Harrisburg, Pa., and San Francisco, Calif., in October 2010, followed by a survey of 2,294 teens in eleventh and twelfth grades from 28 recruited high schools across the country in January 2011. Overall findings for the study can be interpreted with a 95 percent confidence interval with an error margin of +/- 2.02 percent. 

About Liberty Mutual Insurance

"Helping people live safer, more secure lives" since 1912, Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group is a diversified global insurer and the third largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. based on A.M. Best Company's report of 2010 net written premium.  The Group also ranks 82nd on the Fortune 500 list of largest U.S. corporations, based on 2010 revenue.  The company has over 45,000 employees located in more than 900 offices throughout the world.

The eighth-largest auto and home insurer in the U.S., Liberty Mutual Insurance ( sells full lines of coverage for automobile, homeowners, valuable possessions, personal liability, and individual life insurance.  The company is an industry leader in affinity partnerships, offering car and home insurance to employees and members of more than 13,500 companies, credit unions, professional associations and alumni groups.

About SADD
SADD, the nation's leading peer-to-peer youth education, prevention, and activism organization, is committed to empowering young people to lead initiatives in their schools and communities. Founded in 1981, today SADD has thousands of chapters in middle schools, high schools, and colleges. SADD highlights prevention of many destructive behaviors and attitudes that are harmful to young people, including underage drinking, other drug use, risky and impaired driving, and teen violence and suicide. To become a Friend of SADD or for more information, visit,, or follow SADD on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Press Contacts:


Glenn Greenberg

Deborah Burke Henderson

Liberty Mutual Insurance



508-481-3568, ext. 231

SOURCE Liberty Mutual Insurance