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How to talk to teens about drinking and driving

No one should get behind the wheel of a vehicle after a night of drinking. However, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 1.6 percent of adults in South Carolina drove a car while intoxicated within the last 30 days of the initial report. It is frightening to think about how many teens in the state drove while drunk during that period. 

There is a zero tolerance policy for teens when it comes to drinking and driving. While adults can technically have a blood alcohol content level lower than 0.08, teens cannot have anything. Therefore, it is paramount for parents to talk to their teenagers about the dangers. Many parents do not know where to start, so here are some pointers for the conversation. 

Provide facts

Teenagers respond better to facts and figures than scare tactics. Parents should provide information related to the number of teens who lose their lives every year as a result of drunk driving. Parents should also talk about the consequences of a DUI arrest, such as:

  • Suspended driver's license
  • Jail time
  • Community service
  • Fine that can amount to thousands of dollars
  • Risk of losing academic scholarships for college

Keep communication open

Parents always need to be there for their kids, so make it clear your child can go to you if he or she ever feels tempted to drink alcohol. Additionally, if you know your teen is out at a party, feel free to check in once in a while. It is acceptable to be a little overbearing as long as you know your teen is safe. 

Utilize these helpful tips

Once you have let your teens know what you expect out of them, it is good to create a physical copy of the agreement. This contract simply gets everything in writing, so both parents and teens can avoid any confusion. It is also a good idea to develop a code system. Teens may go out to parties, drink and have no way to get home. Make it clear your teenager should text you something like "1-2-3" so you know to pick up your child without your teen feeling embarrassed in front peers. Finally, be ready for special occasions, such as prom or winter formal. You may want to hire a limo to be safe. However, if your teen has already gotten in trouble with the law, then contact attorney Adam Young for assistance. 

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