Is your teen ready to take control of the wheels? Does your teen often head out with friends in a car? Are you worried she might end up being reckless and fall prey to drinking and driving?
If you are a worried parent too, you are not alone. Most parents of teen children often worry about their safety and security. Read our post to know why do teens drink and drive, how teen drunk driving affects and what you can do about it.
Teen Drinking And Driving: What The Statistics Say
Teens have always been on the radar for unsafe driving, especially for drinking and driving. Drinking under age is already a major concern, and coupled with driving, it can be one of the biggest fears that parents of teens have.
With flaws in rules being common, a teen as young as 15 can easily obtain a driving license that allows them to sit behind the wheels in a ‘legal’ way. Even though the legal age to obtain drinks is 21, there are many flaws in the system through which teens can get their hands on alcohol.
- In the US, 10 percent of licensed drivers are under the age of 21, and cause 17 percent of the total drunk driving fatalities.
- Each year, almost 2,000 teens fall prey to fatal car crashes in which they were themselves driving. Driving under the influence of alcohol causes at least a third of these incidents.
- Teenage drinkers almost always end up binge drinking. As per statistics, the levels of alcohol in teens that drive are almost five times the permissible level.
- Teens that drink and drive are more careless and do not wear seatbelts. Statistics reveal that 74 percent teen drivers involved in fatal accidents did not wear a seatbelt.
- Teen drivers warrant a No Tolerance policy. It means they can’t have any alcohol in their bloodstream if caught driving.
- Teens caught driving, especially under the influence of alcohol, risk a one-year license suspension, along with hefty fines to discourage the habit.
- Depending on what the particular law of the given area states, your teen may need to spend time in jail if caught driving while drunk.
- Almost 1 in 10 teens regularly drink and drive.
- Teenage drivers whose blood alcohol concentration is 0.8% have a 17 times higher risk of a car crash.
- Most high school students around the age of 16 admit to drinking and driving.
[ Read: Teens Texting While Driving ]
Steps To Limit Teenage Drinking And Driving:
According to research, there are certain factors that can lower the risks involved with teens that drink and drive:
- It is important to increase awareness among teens about the dangers of mixing drinking and driving.
- As a parent, you should discuss the negative impact of drunk driving with your teen. Make sure you point out real examples from news stories or real accidents you may know.
- Your teen will follow your example, so make sure you set the right one. Don’t drive after you’ve had a drink, even if it’s the occasional glass of wine.
- Tell your teen that it is not safe to be in a car that is being driven by a drunken friend. Your teen is at equal risk driven by someone who is drunk.
- Try out different techniques that will make it easier to have safe driving practices for your teen.
- Give your teen the confidence to call you after a session of drinks. Tell them that you will always come and pick them up but that they should not drive after drinking.
- If your teen obtains a new license, make sure you travel with them for the first few weeks.
- Show your teen how drinking can hamper driving instincts. Let her have a few glasses of wine in your presence. Next, draw a chalk line on the floor and ask them to walk a straight line. Your teen will see for herself how drinking can distort vision and judgment. 
[ Read: Tips To Communicate Better With Teens ]
Why Do Teens Drink And Drive?
Of course, you have told your teen all about the dangers of drinking and driving. Your teen is also a sensible person and knows that she must be responsible while driving. What, then, makes her mix drinks with driving?
1. Teens Are Over Confident:
Once your child hits the teens, she will enter a phase of being confident, which will soon turn into overconfidence. Your teen is in a growing phase that is between childhood and adulthood, and your teen almost thinks of herself as an adult.
2. Nothing Bad Can Happen:
Your teen may think she can do it all by herself, and nothing will happen. The thought that bad things happen to others is something comforts and assures your teen.
[ Read: Ways To Prevent Teen Drug Abuse ]
3. One Drink Won’t Harm Anyone:
One drink may not look deadly, but it is enough to cause an accident, even something that can turn fatal. Your teen may feel fine after that one drink, but it can also lead to more drinks.
4. Friends Do It All The Time:
Peer pressure is a dangerous thing during teenage, which often has more share of bad than good. If your teen’s friends have done it before, your teen will obviously want to play it cool and do it too.
[ Read: Impact Of Peer Pressure On Teenagers ]
5. As A Parent You Have Done It Too:
You have told your teen that it is dangerous to drink and drive, but did you do it yourself too? Is your teen aware of the fact that you mix drinking and driving? More than being a bad example to your teen, it is also a deadly habit that can have dangerous results.
Your teen is at an age where she wants to experiment, and drunk driving may be one such experiment. Even if she does not do it on purpose, she may end up doing it nonetheless. Make sure you have an open communication with your teen and always encourage her to confide in you.
Did your teen ever try to mix drinks with driving? Let us know how you handled it in the comments below.
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