Underage drinking is a serious health problem for teens. What's more, climbing behind the wheel of a car after drinking alcohol increases the chances your teen will crash. Show your teen the grim stats. Teens are more likely to be killed in an alcohol-related crash than anyone else. Even though the minimum legal drinking age in every state is 21, our numbers show that among 15- to 20-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2006, 31 percent of the drivers killed had been drinking and 77 percent of these were not wearing seat belts.
What Can You Do?
- Tell your teen that underage drinking is illegal and can ruin lives. Together read about some teenagers who've been affected by alcohol, and particularly those who have lost their lives to drinking and driving. Teens can often relate better to other teenagers.
- Never provide alcohol for teens. Do your part to prevent your teen from having access to alcohol. Unfortunately, some parents think it's OK to provide alcohol for teens. Don't do it. It is illegal. Parents who supply alcohol to any teen, or help any minor possess or consume alcohol, face jail time, loss of a driver's license, or serious fines.
- Make the consequences clear. Remind your teens they face adult consequences for drinking and driving. Make sure your teens know that if they violate underage drinking laws, they face a trip to jail, the loss of their driver licenses, and dozens of unanticipated expenses including attorney fees, court costs, and other fines. Remind them of the added embarrassment and humiliation. Drunk-driving convictions can even compromise academic eligibility, college acceptance, scholarship awards, and more.
Underage drinking is just not worth it.