Here’s a troubling statistic: while drivers under the age of 21 only represent 10% of licensed drivers in the United States, they are responsible for at least 17% of fatal alcohol-related crashes. No wonder some parents install an interlock install device to keep their teens from driving while intoxicated.
Below are other sobering statistics you need to know before you hand over your car keys to your teenager:
- According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), many young people abuse alcohol more than any other substance, with 12 to 20-year-olds accounting for more than 10% of the total consumption.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), high school students drive under the influence a staggering 2.4 million times each month!
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatal roadway crashes are rising among people aged 16 to 20.
- More than a third of fatal motor crashes that occur among people aged 16 to 20 involve alcohol.
Effective Ways to Stop Your Teen from Driving While Under the Influence
Some research shows that specific parenting strategies can help reduce risky behaviors like driving while intoxicated. Below are some of the techniques you can look into:
Set clear rules against drinking
A study involving 1,000 teens discovered that parents who are “hands-on” can help dramatically decrease their kids’ chances of getting involved in risky behaviors, including drinking and driving.
Apart from setting clear rules for drinking and driving, it is crucial that you establish clear behavioral expectations, say no when needed, and monitor your teen’s comings and goings.
If anything, you need to be strict without feeling guilty about it. After all, even if your teen does not have a driver’s license yet, they might have friends who can drive. In line with this, it is important to emphasize one clear rule: never drink and drive.
Form an alliance with other parents
While an impressive 99% of parents say they won’t serve alcohol at their kid’s party, 28% of teens admit they have been at supervised parties where alcohol is present. Another survey also found that at least half of teens that attend parties reveal that drugs, alcohol, or both are available.
It would also help if you get to know your children’s friends and well as their parents. Make a pact to monitor each other’s kids so you would be able to minimize unsupervised parties, if not eradicate them.
Have a secret code with your teens
One of the reasons teens don’t call for help is they don’t want to lose face in front of their peers. Fortunately, creating a secret code can be an effective way to get in touch with you without losing face.
Codes like “I’m getting the flu” can alert you that your kid needs a designated driver or needs to be picked up. If you are not around, ensure there is a trusted person your teen can call for help.
It would also help to have an emergency backup plan. For instance, you can give your teen money and the contact number of a trusted cab driver if they’d need help. You must make it clear it is not an approval to drink.
Instead, it is a way for you to tell them that you understand that peer pressure can be challenging, and if something comes up, they have an option to get a ride and get home safe.
At times, despite your best efforts, your teen can still end up driving under the influence. With this in mind, they must be aware of what the grave consequences are. Better yet, you might want to consider installing an interlock device for your peace of mind.