Drive Alive was started as a result of the dramatic increase in alcohol-related accidents among teens. The year before the campaign began, 75 percent of teen deaths were alcohol-related.
You can teach your teens to do the right things, and they can tell you what you want to hear, but let's face it, once they are out of your sight you don't know what they are doing. No teen is exempt from the threat of drinking and driving. It doesn't matter if he is a good student, captain of the football team, class president, etc. All it takes is one slip-up to ruin lives.
Here are the "10 Commandments" to abide by as a parent to help prevent your teen from experiencing an alcohol-related accident.
- Never condone underage drinking.
- Know where your teen is going and when she will be back.
- Know who your teen is going with.
- Know what transportation he is using.
- Have curfews and always wait up for your teen. Have a brief conversation with him about his night. Watch for signs of drinking (slurred speech, inability to focus eyes, swaying movement when walking, etc.).
- Don't allow your teen to spend the night at a "friend's" you don't know or places where you know the parents don't supervise the kids.
- Tell your teen you will pick her up if she can't drive or doesn't have a ride. But don't count on this; it's not too effective; your teen will be intimidated. If your teen is completely trashed — she may call you; however, if your teen has had three or four drinks she will most likely risk it.
- Teach your teen to be a safe passenger. Remember that 50 percent of teens who die in car accidents are passengers not drivers. Tell your teen to never ride with anyone who has been drinking, even if he doesn't seem drunk.
- Never let your teen see you drunk or drive after a couple drinks.
- Don't be oblivious. Realize that teenage drinking is very prevalent (among all types of teens, not just bad ones or partiers). No matter how smart or mature you think your teen is, remember he is still at risk.
Let your teen know that underage drinking is dangerous and unacceptable. Besides the obvious consequences of death and crippling injuries, talk to him about the economic consequences (what happens if he gets a DUI). The entire family can be cancelled from insurance. He will lose his license and receive enormous fines. It will be on his record for a very long time, ruining the possibility of scholarships, job opportunities, admission to some colleges, etc.
Giving alcohol to minors is a serious offense. To learn more read Serve Teens, Serve Time.