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Teen Drunk Driving & DUI Prevention:
A Guide for Parents

Set the rules for your teen when it comes to driving a car

Consumption of alcohol may be illegal for teenagers in the United States, but that doesn't stop many from gaining access to wine, beer and other alcoholic beverages. Statistics show that more than 70 percent of teens have had at least one drink by age 18. Parents are often a teen's best defense against drinking and driving. Guardians who discuss the seriousness of drinking and driving can help reduce the risk of underage drinking and DUI-related incidents.

It's important to set rules for your teen and thoroughly explain the consequences of breaking these rules. Discuss the possible consequences of being caught while drinking and driving, including a DUI on their driving record, losing their driver's license, or being involved in a fatal vehicle accident.

Driving under influence leads to problems
Parents can and must take steps to reduce the risk and prevent teens
from driving under influence.

Help prevent impared underage driving

As teens often feel peer pressure from friends who drink, talk about potential scenarios your teen may experience involving alcohol and how they can properly handle the situation. Talk about what your teen should do if offered alcohol at a party or what to say if an impaired friend offers your teen a ride. Other ways that you can help prevent impaired underage driving is to:

  • Help your teen build friendships with other teens that do not drink.
  • Form an alliance with other parents to ensure that they do not serve alcohol at their teen's parties.
  • Promise your teen that you will pick him or her up from a party if needed, no questions asked.
  • Do not make liquor available to teens in your home. If you have liquor in your home, lock it up.

As a parent, it's important to practice what you preach. Set a good example at home for your teen by using alcohol responsibility. Do not drink excessively or use alcohol as a way to cope with your problems. Ensure that your teen knows all the negative side effects of drinking, both physical and emotional.

The effects of alcohol in the body

It doesn't take a large amount of alcohol to feel its effects. As the liver can only process one standard drink of alcohol (or one ounce of liquor) per hour, the faster you drink the more likely you are to get drunk. If you consume more than this, the alcohol will accumulate in the body tissues and blood until it can be metabolized by the body. The effects of alcohol in the body can also depend on other factors, such as:

  • Recent food intake
  • Person's weight and size
  • Individual metabolism rate
  • The beverage consumed

Many teens turn to alcohol as way to fight boredom, especially during long school breaks. Parents often don't know what to do to keep their teens occupied and out of trouble while unsupervised. One strategy that can work is to arrange volunteer work or extracurricular activities that teens can engage in.

Educate your teens to drive correctly
It's parents duty to drive responsibly and teach their teens safe driving by example 
(Image by Pixabay.com)

Keep your teens involved in communal activities

Getting teens involved in community or neighborhood activities can not only help keep them away from alcohol, but can also boost their motivation and work ethic. While some teens like academic-related activities, others prefer community sports. Ask your teen if he or she would like to participate in a summer sports program or camp. Other ways to keep your teen busy include:

  • Have your teen become a tutor for another student
  • Ask your teen if he or she would like to make money with a part-time job
  • Get your teen involved in photography or music

To reduce the risk of your teen drinking and driving, parents should set boundaries relating to their teen's driving. Enforcing a curfew is an excellent way to restrict potential dangerous driving situations. As most drinking parties occur during the evening or night hours, a curfew can help prevent teens from drinking and driving.

If your teen continues his or her reckless behavior, it may be time to seek outside professional help. The issues do not resolve by themselves and can often lead to dangerous outcomes, such as alcohol poisoning or a DUI. Being proactive by getting your teen help can prevent these potentially serious outcomes and help your teen change their behavior before it worsens.

Drunk Driving Prevention Guide

Drug and Alcohol Abuse Treatment and Recovery
Drunk Driving Law and DUI Prevention
DUI Facts and Statistics

Texting and the Dangers of Distracted Driving

Crime Prevention, Safety Resources and Law Information 
Distracted Driving State Law Information and Safety Devices 
The Dangers of Texting While Driving 

Safe Driving Guide for Newer Drivers

Family Community and Transportation Resources 
DUI, Health and Other Safety Sites 
On the Road Safety Topics 

General DUI Resources

DUI and Drunk Driving Law Problems and Solutions 
Alcohol and Drug Law and DUI Resources 
DUI Costs (Lawyer, Fines, etc.) and Other Consequences

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