As far as the law is concerned, teenagers aren’t supposed to drink, but many of them drink anyway, thanks to fake IDs as well as adults who enable this behavior by buying alcohol for them.
Underage drinking is bad enough, but many teenagers make things worse by getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. As a result, drunk driving has become one of the top causes of death among teens.
If there’s anyone who should be at the forefront of the campaign against underage DUI, that would be the parents of teenagers who have a license to drive. So what can a parent do to stop their teen from becoming a drunk driver?
No Alcohol At Home
Understandably, this is a big ask for parents, especially for those who love to drink beer or take a few shots for a nightcap. But if you want to guarantee that your teen won’t be able to access alcohol from your end, your home should be alcohol-free. If this isn’t an option for you, then make sure your alcohol supply is beyond their reach, like stashing them inside a locked cabinet or room in your house.
Awareness of Legal Consequences
Your teenagers probably know that they’re not old enough to drink, but remind them just the same. You should also stress that there is no such thing as being old enough to drink and drive. They need to be fully aware that while people of all ages can be arrested and convicted for driving under the influence, underage drunk drivers can find themselves in considerable legal trouble because of zero tolerance laws.
In states that implement zero tolerance laws, teenage drivers caught with any amount of alcohol in their system will be automatically charged with a DUI. In contrast, the blood alcohol concentration limit for adults in most states is .08%.
Teenagers need to know that if they get arrested for a DUI, they could serve jail time, pay hefty fines, lose their driver’s license, and see their college applications rejected, among other things. The worst consequence, of course, is that drunk driving can lead to a deadly car crash.
Handling Peer Pressure
Peer pressure is a major contributing factor in getting teenagers not only to drink but also to drink and drive as well as ride in cars driven by drunk friends. If you believe your teen faces this kind of peer pressure on a regular basis, have a sit-down and teach him or her how to deal with various scenarios involving alcohol. Tell your teen he or she can always refuse offers of a drink, but if your child drinks, make it clear that you’re just a text or phone call away for a ride home.
Clear Rule Against Drinking and Driving
If parents had their way, they wouldn’t want their precious child ever to be touched by alcohol. That, of course, is next to impossible in a country where alcohol is cheap and readily available. There’s also the likelihood that parents themselves drink alcohol as well, so being a role model for leading an alcohol-free life is already out of the question in such households.
It’s good if parents can implement a no-drinking rule, but if they can’t, then the next most important rule they must impose on their teenagers is one that bans drinking and driving in any way, shape, or form, either as a driver or a passenger. Make the consequences of violating that rule severe, like confiscation of their driver’s license or long-term grounding. You also need to show that you’re serious about this, so don’t be remiss in monitoring them to make sure they follow this rule to the letter.
While it’s true that teenagers can be unpredictable and rebellious, that shouldn’t stop parents like you from doing whatever you can to protect them from the consequences of drunk driving. So start with the above tips, and discover other ways of preventing your teen from getting involved in drunk driving situations as you go along.