Now that Ohio schools are back in session and autumn is just around the corner, it’s a good time to reinforce to your teenager about responsible driving. This is a season punctuated by lots of exuberance. The pep rallies, football games, Sadie Hawkins and homecoming dances all are celebratory occasions where teens like to blow off steam and have fun with their friends.
But these same events can turn into tragedies when students drink and drive – or ride with others who do.
It only takes one mistake to ruin lives
Teens tend to believe that their youth provides them with a certain invincibility, that they are somehow magically protected from the worst that life can toss their way. But that belief is quite far from the actual reality of the situation.
As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reminds parents, teens who drink and drive are at the greatest risk of dying in a collision attributed to alcohol.
The statistics are bleak
The rate of fatal crashes per mile driven for teens is nearly three times that of drivers age 20 and older. In 2021, the latest year for which the numbers are available, teen drivers aged 15 to 18 who were involved in crashes where there was a fatality had consumed alcohol.
Perhaps saddest of all is that your teen doesn’t have to be the one behind the wheel to be killed, maimed or injured. They can merely be a sober passenger in the car driven by an impaired driver to be at great risk of death or serious injury.
What parents can do
Remain engaged with your teenagers by keeping the lines of communication open. Make sure that your teen knows they can call you any time, from any place when they feel unsafe and you will come and drive them home rather than have them ride with an intoxicated driver.
In a worst-case scenario, advocate for your injured teen by holding the intoxicated driver accountable for the havoc they wreaked.