First there is prom, followed by graduation and summer vacation. For many teens, the memories made will last a lifetime. However, for some teens, the memories will be tragic. Prom to the end of summer vacation is the time period when teen accident rates spike. One third of teen accident deaths occur between prom and graduation.
If your teen will be attending prom, graduation, or a party, you may be concerned about her safety. During a Liberty Mutual Insurance Company survey, ten percent of teens admitted to driving under the influence. But, speaking to your teen about the risks of drunk driving can make a difference. According to the same survey, 94 percent of teens said they would be willing to stop driving under the influence if a passenger or a parent asked.
How to Talk to Your Teen About Drunk Driving
We know that it isn’t always easy to talk to your teen, even about simple things like band practice or putting away the milk. The thought of discussing the dangers of underage drinking and drunk driving may be overwhelming. However, this conversation could save your child’s life.
Don’t accuse your teen of drinking. Instead, remind your teenager that while underage drinking is common, it is illegal and can result in serious consequences. Tell her that if she is ever caught drinking, she could face legal charges that will affect her college plans and her future.
Remind your teen that there are absolutely no circumstances where it is ok to get in a vehicle with a driver who is under the influence. Many teen drivers say they have driven drunk because they were afraid to call home and ask for a ride. Insist that your teen carry a cell phone whenever she goes out. Let her know you will pick her up regardless of the time of day without judging her behavior. Your teen is more likely to call if she can count on you to remain calm.
Driving Rules for Pennsylvania Teens
- Drinking alcohol is illegal for anyone under the age of 21. However, if you do drink, don’t drive.
- If you drive drunk, you are responsible for the consequences. You will be pay any fines and legal expenses.
- If alcohol will be served at a party, appoint a designated driver who will not drink.
- If a friend drinks alcohol, ask him not to drive. If he insists he is ok, take his keys away.
- Never get in a car with a driver who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- If you need a ride for any reason, call a parent to pick you up.
Ostroff Law wishes your teen a spring and summer of happy memories. However, if the unthinkable should happen, we urge you to call Ostroff Injury Law at 800-818-8148. Jon Ostroff is an honorary member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) of Pennsylvania, and MADD has referred DUI victims to Jon for legal assistance for over 25 years.