How Parents Can Talk to Their Teen About Drunk Driving

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The legal drinking age is 21. However, many teenagers start experimenting with alcohol at a much lower age. While underage drinking cannot be tolerated, it is less dangerous than getting behind the wheel while drunk.

You may not control everything your teenage child does. However, it would help to converse with them about the dangers of drunk driving because such a conversation could mean the difference between seeing your teenage child another day or having him die in a car accident. 


Teen Traffic Accident Statistics

While teenagers drive less than the average American, their number of car crash-related fatalities is disproportionately high. According to the IIHS, their crash rate is over three times that of adult drivers. 

In 2020 alone, over 2,700 teens died in car accidents, which is equal to more than six deaths per day.

The CDC also reports that teen drivers are three times more likely than older drivers to be involved in a fatal crash. Of these, 29 percent had an alcohol content of 0.01 in their blood.

But drunk driving is not the only problem with teenage drivers. Distracted driving is also a significant cause of accidents among teenagers, with the main culprit being using the phone while driving.

This up-to-date distracted driving statistics guide can be a good read for you if you want to get a clear picture of what distracted driving can do to teenage drivers.

Ideas for Talking With Teens about Drunk Driving

     1. Start Early

Most parents find the need to talk to their teens about the dangers of drinking and substance abuse while driving a little late. Often the need comes after they start having suspicions that the teen could be drinking.

Unfortunately, talking to them while they are already in it may not have a significant impact as it would if you did it early. 

Therefore, it is important to start early, like when they are around 12 to 13. You may not have long conversations about the topic at this age, but you can start by asking whether they know the dangers of drunk driving and make them understand what damage it can cause. 

     2. Stay Consistent

Teaching your teen about the dangers of drunk driving should not stop at the introduction ages of 12 and 13. It has to be continuous. The best time to initiate such a conversation should be when you get news of road accidents. 

As they hear reminders repeatedly, they will be less inclined to drive if they drink because the dangers of drunk driving will be ingrained in their memory.

     3. Lead by Example

You cannot talk about the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol if you are guilty of committing the offense. Your children can better grasp the dangers of drunk driving if they can see it in your actions, so you have to lead from the front.

A good way to do this is by ensuring you never get behind the wheel after drinks, even when it is under the legal BAC limit. Instead, always take a taxi.

Exposure to the right way of doing things can mean putting them in a better place of heeding the information you share.

     4. Set Boundaries at the Earliest Possible

Letting your child access a car should remain a privilege, not a right. So, before you surprise them with a car key, sit them down and go over boundaries and expectations. Also, let them know what happens if they don’t follow the rules. 

For example, breaking the rule could mean suspending their rights to use the vehicle for a while or until they can buy their car for continued violations. Also, let them know that they can always call if by any chance they drink and have no means of getting home without sounding like you want to condone teenage drinking.


Welcome to the Night Helper Blog. The Night Helper Blog was created in 2008. Since then we have been blessed to partner with many well-known Brands like Best Buy, Fisher Price, Toys "R" US., Hasbro, Disney, Teleflora, ClearCorrect, Radio Shack, VTech, KIA Motor, MAZDA and many other great brands. We have three awesome children, plus four adorable very active grandkids. From time to time they too are contributors to the Night Helper Blog. We enjoy reading, listening to music, entertaining, travel, movies, and of course blogging.

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