Driving Under the Influence in Pennsylvania

How Can I Stop My Teen from Drunk Driving?

Drunk driving and its consequences for teens can and must be prevented. Below is a quick list of ways to prevent your underage from drunk-driving accidents. Some may disagree, but I firmly believe when it concerns DUI and its consequences, all prevention methods are good, not matter how tough some of them may seem.

  • Form negative attitude to alcohol from early childhood. Rigorously, strictly, unbendingly, deadly negative attitude. If your child is his or her teens, it’s a bit late to start but better late than too late. You may have younger kids so make sure they won’t take drinking as a norm. Never let your kids see you drinking or drunk. God forbid from giving alcohol to your teenage children! Rest assured, the environment will have its destructive impact in due time which is really hard to resist or avoid and (don’t kid yourself!) teens DO drink discreetly, no matter how good students they are, how actively they participate in sport or social activities, how kind they are or how much they love you. A plain fear of being bullied erases all other fears, like parents’ scolding or punishment, and all known morals. Don’t be shy to point out or imply at every opportunity how disgusting it is to be drunk, how embarrassing, stupid and dangerous are the acts of drunk people. Just do it in a wise, non overbearing way – don’t let you teens think that your constantly expect the worse from them, otherwise they won’t trust your and will try to draw away. From my experience, my own mother used to associate the worst features and behaviors (like being dirty, stinky, shaky, angry, sick, vomited all over – whatever…) with a “drunk man” when talking to me. I don’t drink at all and I don’t like communicating with drunk people. Don’t be submissive about alcohol. Society and numerous events in your teens life will inevitably make their corrections in favor of drinking. So do as much as you can against it now. Just remember that about 75% or teenage deaths occur under the influence of alcohol.

  • Teens hate to be controlled. However, do control your teen. Just be wise and not suppressive so as not to make them pull away. Ask where she or she is going, whom with, when is going to be back, what they are going to to, transportation issues. Keep an eye on whom your teen has a friends, learn as much as possible about them and their families and background. Teenage is the time when children question parents’ authority and seek approval elsewhere, mostly with friends or persons they find “cool” in places where they socialize. When he or she is leaving to drive take note of slightest changes in behavior, coordination, speech to make sure they are don’t under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

  • Don’t let your teen be out late or stay anywhere overnight unless there are parents there. The later the hour the more the chance to get into trouble.

  • Tell your teen driver to call you whenever he or she needs to be picked from the party and promise that you won’t punish them for getting drunk.. Just make it clear that you are not going to tolerate repealed incidents. Teens are afraid of telling parents that they got drunk at the party, for the obvious reasons. And, unfortunately, sometimes because of the negative attitude formed – they realize that they acted bad and don’t want to disappoint parent. I remember reading the words of a wise mother really concerned about drunk-driving, she said something like “I’d prefer to drive my drunk teen home from a party than go to identify him to the morgue.”

  • Forbid your teen to get into a car with a drunk driver, even not for a ride but just for a chat! Half of teens dying in DUI accidents are passengers! Explain the dangers, find horrible stories with pictures on the net, find reports of teens who nearly got killed as passengers of drunk-driving mates, do everything. Drunk drivers often lose control becoming an inadequate killing machine with zero perception of the what’s going on and what others say. They just can’t be stopped. Often, they just don’t remember anything the morning after.

  • Explain the dangers of drunk driving, not just for the driver but also for those around, show the consequence. Not just drunk, but drugged or distracted driving. While with alcohol or drugs it’s more or less clear, the dangers of distracted driving are often totally missed out. Impaired driving stories told on TV or other mass media may be sad and even horrifying. Don’t try to protect your teen from that shock – understanding how bad the consequence may be is a great red line he or she will not cross. Eye-witnessing the disaster worked as a strong drunk-driving deterrent for many people. Yes, it’s a horrible visual aid for a child but a horrible death that won’t help save other lives by preventing risky behavior is much worse. Many victims and relatives of those killed to impaired drivers willingly share their own experience, even horrible pics and videos in spite of their own pain and grief – to save others’ lives. Use it, let those deaths save lives.

  • Get your teens enrolled in anti-DUI activities and social work, especially is your teen’s friends display any signs of problem or risky behavior. That will not just raise their own awareness and responsibility but will also help do the same for other drivers and friends. In addition, they will get new healthy social environment around them, get to know new people and make new like-minded friends, thus lowering the impact of those who who stimulate risky behavior. Remember that DUI victims are not just the drunk drivers, but also passengers, pedestrians and other innocent, non-drinking drivers. There are a lot of teen anti drunk driving organizations out there that are ready to help you and your teen whenever you need it.

  • Explain financial losses to DUI. For some teens the risk of getting injured or even killed doesn’t seem to work – personal safety and safety of those around then are the last things they think of. However, the risk of getting sanctioned or arrested for DUI sometimes works - I know some teens for whom it actually worked as a deterring factor. Explain them potential financial losses, like losing car or life insurance, not just for the teen but for the whole family. DUI fines, loss of license, jail terms also work as a stop factor. Explain that getting convicted just once will permanently put them on a black list of criminal offenders and result in permanent inability to get a loan or a good job. Research and tell how much the services of a DUI lawyer cost.

I hope the above tips help you keep the disaster as far away as possible from your teen driver.