There's some good news and some bad news when it comes to teenage drinking and driving.
In general, it seems like campaigns designed to discourage teenage drinking and driving are having a positive effect -- less than half of the numbers of teen drinkers are on the road these days since 1991.
The bad news is that 1 out of every 10 teens still attending high school has admitted to drinking and driving.
Worse, teens and young adults (to age 20) run a risk of dying while driving when they've been drinking that's 17 times greater than it is for other drivers -- and they're three times more likely to have that accident in the first place than an older driver would.
So how can you keep you teen from becoming a statistic? Experts say that there are certain factors that seem to make the biggest impression:
- Parental involvement is important -- which means keeping an eye out for problem behavior, keeping the lines of communication open about the issue of drinking and driving and -- when necessary -- enforcing punishments.
- Consider a "no questions, no punishment" rule if your teen needs a ride because he or she was either out somewhere and drank and then couldn't drive home safely or was with someone who was planning on driving drunk.
- Talk to your teens about the legal consequences of being caught driving while intoxicated. Zero-tolerance laws may seem draconian, but they can definitely keep a teen from wanting to risk losing his or her license.
- Keep your teen from driving with other teens in the car until he or she has enough experience and wisdom to stay focused on the road.
Whatever you can do to impress the seriousness of the issue upon your teenager or young adult -- do it. Your time and attention may be the number one thing standing between your teen and a serious accident.
If your teen is involved in a drunk driving accident or pulled over for driving under the influence, it's wise to seek help from an experienced attorney as soon as possible. The consequences of a drunk driving charge can be fierce -- even for someone so young. An attorney can help mitigate the consequences so that your teen can move past his or her mistake.
Source: cdc.gov, "Teen Drinking and Driving," accessed Sep. 29, 2017