Drinking and driving is a subject every teen needs to thoroughly understand. Car crashes is one of the leading causes of death for U.S. teens. Teens between the ages of 16 and 19 are three times as likely to be in fatal crashes. It is never too early to have a conversation with your teen about the dangers of drinking and driving. Disturbingly, drinking and driving is a topic many teenagers don’t take seriously. Parents may be challenged to bring up the subject in conversation. Here are five creative tips for bringing this topic up with your teen.
1. Show Them The Statistics
Showing your teen the statistics associated with teen drinking and driving can help bridge the gap between a parental lecture and the actual facts. With today’s technology, information about drinking while intoxicated is available as quickly as you can type the words on your keyboard. Particularly powerful statistics to share with your teenager include these facts:
- drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 are 17 times more likely to die in a crash when they have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.8% than when they have not been drinking,
- 33% of teen drivers who were killed in car crashes in 2009 had alcohol in their systems, and
- 8.2% of high school students reported driving after drinking one or more times.
2. Inform Them Of The Consequences Of Drinking And Driving
Make sure your child knows exactly what will happen if he or she is caught driving while intoxicated (DWI) by your local law enforcement. DWI Attorney, Eric Harron said minors under 21 years old are arrested immediately for a driving under the influence (DUI) if they are caught with a negligible percentage of alcohol in their bloodstream. If your child understands the process and consequences for being arrested with a DUI, he or she may be less likely to make the decision to drink and drive. Let them know their licenses will automatically be suspended or revoked, they will have a class one misdemeanor on their record, and they will be responsible for community service and thousands of dollars in fees-if not jail time.
3. Let Them See First-Hand What Drinking and Driving Can Cause
There are endless amounts of videos online that display the horrors drinking and driving can cause, both by showcasing real footage and displaying dramatizations. Letting your child experience a visual demonstration of the possible consequences of driving while intoxicated can help he or she take the subject more seriously. Although most of the videos available are extremely graphic, they showcase the true tragedy drinking and driving can cause.
4. Communicate Openly With Your Child and Encourage His or Her Input
When talking to your child about driving while intoxicated, explain how you’re feeling in a manner makes your teen feel comfortable about asking questions and giving his or her own opinions. Let your child know he or she can talk to you about drinking and driving without being talked down to or lectured. This can help create an environment where your teenager is less likely to feel the need to hide their opinions and actions from you.
5. Lead By Example
Your own actions can speak louder than words. Always drink responsibly, especially in your child’s presence, and never drink and drive yourself. Demonstrate for your child through your own behavior you take drinking while intoxicated very seriously. Your teenager will be able to see what is expected of him or her through your example.
Those are five creative tips for broaching the subject of drinking and driving with your teenager.