Grad Season: Protect Your Teen from Drinking & Driving

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Alcoholic drinks and cars don't mix
Have a conversation with your teen about drinking and driving dangers. It could save their life or the life of someone else. Photo via Pixabay.

Graduation is a time of celebration as adolescents cross the bridge towards adulthood. Whether they’re planning to enroll in college, enlisting in the military, backpack across Europe, or pick up a full-time job, graduation is the beginning and end of an old and new era. From school rehearsals and relocation requirements to family festivities to peer-driven parties, there’s enough activity brewing during graduation season to build lifelong memories for your favorite teenager.

But a drunk driving accident can transform a potential lifetime of memories into decades of heartbreak, pain, and regret. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), teenagers are in the highest risk age bracket for fatal crashes and most of those occur between the months of April and July. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to protect your teen from drinking and driving, as per the sponsored ValuedVoice post below.

Alcoholic drinks and cars don't mix
Have a conversation with your teen about drinking and driving dangers. It could save their life or the life of someone else. Photo via Pixabay.

Have an Adult-to-Almost Adult Conversation About Underage Drinking

Your teen may feel and try to act like an adult, but underage laws still apply and you’re still legally responsible for their care and safety. According to results of the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, only 1 in 100 parents believe their teenager binge drinks but 1 in 7 teens actually do.

You may think you’re being a good parent by turning a blind eye to the probability of their drinking, but being realistic offers a better shot at saving their lives. Graduation parties and peer pressure go hand-in-hand, and alcohol will likely be available. Talk to your teens about underage drinking, impaired driving, and consequences like potential sexual assault, car crashes, emergency room visits, and alcohol addiction before they put themselves or someone else in harm’s way.

Communicate and Know Their Celebration Details

Chances are your teenager has been invited to several celebration activities or parties. If their graduation class is quite large, they may be attending multiple parties during graduation season. If able, offer your teen a ride to and from the events to help them avoid potentially getting into a dangerous situation.

Talk directly with the parents hosting the parties or events and verify times and make sure alcohol will not be available. If they say or suggest it will be, remind them of state laws and social responsibilities. It’s better to be the temporary “uncool parent” than spending the rest of your life grieving over a preventable drunk driving fatality.

Make and Confirm a Backup Plan

Over 40% of underage drinkers get their booze from adults they know, and the average drunk driver has been behind the wheel of a vehicle at least 80 times before they’re arrested the first time. So a teenager may insist they can drive safely even under the influence. After all, they’re already in a bubble of invincibility. But since 33% of drunk driving fatalities occur with drivers between the ages of 16 and 20, the clock’s ticking down each time they drink and drive.

Arrange or provide safe and sober transportation from a party or event, regardless of how late it runs. And if you’re not able to pick up your teen yourself, insist they call an Uber or taxi. A little precaution and pre-planning go a long way to avoid calling your Michigan auto accident attorney and help usher your teen into adulthood.

23 COMMENTS

  1. When my sons were teenagers, I allowed them to try beer, at home. Then we talked about how it made them feel and if there was a moment that they thought they shouldn’t have more. I “taught” them how to drink, so to speak. We don’t do that in this country.

    And they were NEVER allowed to drink and drive. They knew to call me if they were out at a party drinking and needed a ride…no questions asked.

  2. Important post, Christy! One statistic stands out – that ‘ the average drunk driver has been behind the wheel of a vehicle at least 80 times before they’re arrested the first time’. Frightening! Personally I never have a drink and drive – in my younger days many saw me as ‘lame’ – nowadays this is the recognised norm – thankfully!

  3. Great tips Christy,

    I believe that number two is very important. Communication is the key of everything. We need to make a friends from our kids and than we have a chance to hear something from their life.

  4. I know I’ve asked you this before, but have you ever thought about having a post about girls thinking of a military career, females heroines of today, etc.

  5. I’m so glad my kids made it through their teens without a tragedy related to drinking and driving. Hopefully, they were smart, but as the article suggests, parents are often clueless. Great points and excellent ideas for keeping everyone safe. 😀

  6. I know families that have been affected by this firsthand, so thank you for your post. We need to ensure that our kids are not too afraid to call us if their ride has been drinking. Save the judgments and just let them know you are available for them

  7. Those stats are scary. Thank god my kids survived their teenage years! My daughter, who is 22 and just graduated from college(!) chooses not to drink. My son, who is 26, does drink on occasion but usually only at a party in someone’s home where he and his friends will stay and spend the night if they’re too tipsy to safely drive.

  8. Don’t know bout the driving but he’ll lose his licence before he gets it if he doesn’t kerb his intake….he got drunk last Tuesday, had an argument with a stranger & instead of punching the stranger, he punched a wall…1 broken & open break of a metatarsal & broken bones in little finger….also missed the chance of working with a top class chef on the Thursday….stupid

  9. I love how you inspire people to be aware and think about how to stay safe, and keep their loved ones safe too. The danger with drinking in driving is – as you said – someone else could get hurt or killed. Drinking and driving changes lives forever in the blink of an eye. Thank you Christy, for a wonderful post and all your wonderful work in helping others! You are a very special person.

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