Shortly after automobiles were produced the problem of drunk driving showed its ugly head. Since that time, both the government and car manufactures have tried to address the problem through stricter laws and safer cars. Working as a Bothell car crash attorney and being a parent I am always saddened when the great progress we have made in lessening the fatal effects of drunk driving is thrown a curve. We are now facing a very serious problem with the increased popularity of alcoholic energy drinks. 

Just this week the popular alcoholic energy drink Four Lokos played a role in a serious auto accident in Arizona. A 19 year old girl was driving home from a party when she ran straight through a T intersection, jumping the curve into the yard of an unsuspecting family, smashing into a tree and then into their home. Luckily, nobody inside the house was injured, but the girl is in the hospital with cervical fractures. The girl was allegedly playing a drinking game with the drink Four Lokos before the accident.

This popular alcoholic energy drink has been the center of much controversy in recent years for its roll in several accidents and hospitalizations. In just one day, Washington State’s ban on the beverage will be in effect after 9 Central Washington University students were hospitalized with alcohol poisoning from the drink.  One of these students had a BAC of .35 and almost died. Ramapo College in New Jersey also banned the drink when 6 visitors and 17 students suffered alcohol poisoning which required hospitalization.  In New York a group of teens also were hospitalized in May of this year with similar problems from the drink and Cornell University has had two hospitalizations this semester alone.

The problem with Four Lokos and all alcoholic energy drinks lies in their combination of alcohol and caffeine. Four Lokos contains an equivalent to 2 cups of coffee and 5 beers. As a stimulant, caffeine negates the effects of the alcohol- making a person feel less drunk than they actually are—the result—the individuals keeps drinking alcohol to get the effect they are looking for and ends up with severe alcohol poisoning. A study by the University of Florida also shows that when alcohol is mixed with caffeine people thought they were more capable of driving than those drinking alcohol without caffeine.

These drinks are very appealing to teens as they have high sugar content to mask the alcohol, come in bright colors and are very inexpensive. As a parent, the number one way to prevent your teen from falling victim to the effects of alcohol is by simply talking to them. Starting the conversation can be no easy task so I have written a simple list of tips to make that conversation easier for you. Click on the link to read the article: Talking to Your Kids about Drunk Driving.

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