According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, high school students drive intoxicated roughly 2.4 million times each month.
New license holders still have a lot to learn about driving—and about driving under the influence of alcohol. Parents can discourage drinking and help their teens stay sober behind the wheel.
Vehicle crashes are the main cause of teen deaths in our country. In fact, more than one-third of the fatal roadway accidents among drivers 16 to 20 years of age involve alcohol consumption. Data from the CDC indicates that, as compared to the experience of an older driver, a fatal car crash is 17% more likely to happen to an underage driver who has imbibed alcohol. Gender, age and weight determine how deeply alcohol affects the body, but everyone who drinks and then drives experiences some level of impairment in terms of visual function, reaction time and spatial judgment.
How parents can help
Concerned parents can engage their teenagers in conversations about the dangers of drinking and driving. Some parents do not keep liquor in the house. Others lock it up and, if necessary, warn older children against becoming alcohol suppliers to their younger siblings. Parents can help plan and supervise alcohol-free parties for teens in their homes, which is a good way to monitor their activities. Many make it a point to support sober driving by talking with other parents, so adults are all aware of, and involved with, this important issue.
OUI in Massachusetts
In the state of Massachusetts, an underage driver can face a conviction for operating under the influence with a blood alcohol content level as low as 0.02%. Parents want to do all they can to ensure their teens avoid this kind of experience. Their awareness of the risks of drunk driving and their ongoing support can be very effective in helping teen drivers stay sober behind the wheel.