Teens will be drinking, driving tonight
A new study from Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) offers sobering news, particularly as many area residents head out tonight to ring in a new year.
Our nation has about 13 million licensed teen drivers, and the study suggests more than one in 10 will drink and drive tonight. That’s true despite the survey also showing that 49 percent of teens believe simply driving on New Year’s Eve is “very” or “extremely” dangerous.
Perhaps even more troubling, the survey suggests parental consent of teen drinking is rising. Forty-seven percent of teen surveyed said they are allowed to go to parties where alcohol is served, and 15 percent said their parents let them host alcohol parties. Thirty-seven percent said they can drink when their parents are present, and 29 percent said their parents let them drink unsupervised. All those percentages are higher than among teens surveyed just two years ago.
“The best thing a parent can do is have an open and ongoing dialogue with their children about drinking and driving,” says Dave Melton, a driving safety expert with Liberty Mutual Insurance. “Talk through the dangers of reckless decisions and help your kids understand that the conversation isn’t punitive, it’s preventative.”
Melton encourages parents and teens to sign the Parent/Teen Driving Contract as a first step toward lifelong safe driving habits. He also stressed that parents must model responsible behavior themselves.
Let’s make sure that our New Year’s Eve celebration truly is a happy one.
And I’m wishing all my readers a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.