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.
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.