Teen Drinking and Driving and Homecoming a Deadly Mix

As homecoming season approaches, girls are worried about what dress to wear, guys worry about whether they’ll find a date and parents worry about kids drinking and driving. While parents are correct to be concerned about the temptation and dangers of drinking and driving, having a frank discussion with teens about the realities of underage drinking could go a long way toward diffusing fear on the parent’s side and misperceptions on the teen’s end. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that across the country, drunk driving among teens has dropped by more than 50 percent since 1991. That organization says that fewer teens are getting behind the wheel of a car. This is encouraging news for mom and dad, but it might be eye-opening news for their teen.  Most teens tend to assume that far more of their peers are drinking and driving than actually are. On the other hand, automobile collisions are still the No. 1 cause of death among 16- to 19-year-olds. About 30 percent of the time, alcohol is involved in these fatal accidents. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) also point out the number of senseless deaths caused by texting while driving. The sad truth is that on homecoming night, just as another deadly occasion, prom night, some teens won’t be coming home because either they were drinking or another driver did. Parents need to talk to their teens about the dangers of drinking and driving. Parents who explain the dangers, point out misperceptions, and emphasize family expectations regarding problematic alcohol use could save their child’s life as well as someone else’s.

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