In a recent survey conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), 13% of the 2,300 11th and 12th graders surveyed admitted to driving after drinking alcohol. With so many dangerous consequences, from DUIs to a fatal traffic crash, what would influence a teen to get behind the wheel after drinking?
According to Totaldui.com’s “Surprising Factors that Can Increase Your Child’s Chances of Driving Drunk” infographic, parents’ and friends’ behaviors are the biggest influencers in a teen’s decision of whether or not to drive drunk.
In a 2011 study of 10,000 young adults, 6% of those with parents who drink have driven under the influence at the age of 21 while only 2% of those with parents who do not drink have driven drunk at the age of 21. The survey further reports that 11% of teens with parents and peers who drink alcohol will drive under the influence in their 20s.
It might not surprise you that people who have friends who drink and drive are more likely to drink and drive themselves, but peers can also be a good influence. In the survey conducted by Liberty Mutual and SADD, 94% of the teens surveyed said they would not drive while impaired if a passenger asked them not to.
Just like friends can influence your teen’s decision to drive drunk or not, so can parents. The earlier parents start talking to their kids about the dangers of underage drinking and driving under the influence, the better it will sink in and prevent them from drinking and driving. Prevent your child from driving while impaired by following these tips:
- Set a good example. Don’t drink too much, joke about drinking, or send the message that alcohol solves problems.
- Get to know their friends. Help your kids build friendships with peers who don’t drink and limit the amount of time they spend with friends who do drink.
- Create a code phrase. Creating a code phrase that your teen can say to you over the phone alerts you that they’re in an uncomfortable situation and need you to pick them up but keeps them from feeling embarrassed around their friends.
- Combat peer pressure. Help your teen avoid giving in to peer pressure by coming up with responses that their friends will relate to and accept. For example: “Don’t worry, my friend is coming to pick me up.”