Talking to tweens and teens about underage drinking can be stressful. Once the subject is brought up, what do parents do? There is no way to know what your kids are doing 24 hours a day; they have friends, social engagements, school functions, and many other opportunities to be exposed to unhealthy choices. Keeping your kids safe starts with discussing alcohol and the effects of drinking and driving, but, it doesn’t stop there. Those discussions can help you decide whether to write out a “No DUI” contract and/or to install a car breathalyzer in the car your teenager will drive.
Writing a “No DUI” contract that spells out the dangers and potential consequences of drinking and driving may help the problem seem more serious to kids. Contracts are a good way to hold everyone accountable, and have everyone on the same page when it comes to underage drinking.
Some points for a “No DUI” contract include:
- Obeying traffic and driving laws.
- Only driving when sober.
- Never riding in a car with drivers who have been drinking or using drugs.
- Never driving while impaired due to peer pressure.
- Having a designated driver or calling parents if a ride home is needed.
- If you install a car breathalyzer, the rules for use by your child or anyone else who may drive the car.
Car breathalyzers can provide you with assurance that your teenager isn’t drinking while driving his or her car, and are a trusted prevention method for many families. Plus, some insurance companies will offer discounts when a car breathalyzer is installed. If you are curious about the process, contact a car breathalyzer or ignition interlock service provider in your area for more information.
It is important for you and your teenager to understand that if he or she drinks and drives, there are criminal penalties to face, including fines, license suspension and more, depending on the state. Even with a car breathalyzer installed, your child could be at risk, just by riding with a friend who has been drinking. Be straight with your teenager, lay out your expectations and encourage responsible behavior. You may be surprised at what you get in return.