In many countries, it’s somehow becoming normal for a teen to drink despite not being of legal age. While it doesn’t sound concerning to others, it gets serious when those teens borrow vehicles. Parents aren’t always present to stop their children from making rash decisions and not all teens are responsible. They might show you that a legal adult is driving the car, but switch places when they’re far enough.
Teenagers tend to get into all sorts of trouble and shenanigans, especially under the influence of alcohol. That’s why DUI lawyers are becoming more necessary in certain countries. Drinking also impairs their ability to make any sort of crucial driving decisions on the road. Even just one drink can be lethal to the driver because there’s no guarantee they’ll operate the vehicle safely.
If the driver is caught, they’ll be charged with Driving Under Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). This can result in the loss of your license, hefty fines, and possible jail time. In such cases, calling a DUI lawyer is necessary so you’ll know how to respond. However, prevention is better than cure so we’ll discuss the different ways you can prevent or deal with teen DUI.
Teenage drinking and driving is risky behavior that can threaten their lives, especially under the influence of drugs. Perhaps they did it out of peer pressure, impulse, or that teenage desire to test their boundaries. However, teen DUI is usually a warning sign of something bigger going on with your child. That’s why DUI lawyers are available to help understand and get them back on track. With proper context, maybe your child will be given a lighter sentence because they might have been a victim as well.
Alcohol and/or substance abuse among teenagers is usually a symptom of untreated depression and trauma. They’d turn to dangerous substances to self-medicate their emotional pain and distress. For example, some teenagers are huge risk-takers because the rush breaks through the numb feeling when you’re depressed.
Having poor impulse control and executive functioning during DUI may state mental health issues. For example, bipolar and other mood disorders involve those symptoms and emotional dysregulation.
According to estimates in 2020, 29% of teen drivers in fatal crashes had high blood alcohol concentrations. In 2019, 17% of students in high school reported riding with a drunk driver at least once a month. That’s a lot of instances considering the survey was done nationwide.
Not to mention, about 8 teens are reported to die in a DUI car crash every day. That’s an estimate of almost 3,000 teenagers every year who die from DUI crashes. Of drivers aged 15-20, 60% died in vehicular crashes after drinking and driving without wearing a seatbelt. Despite that, this behavior is still prevalent in our society, hence the high ratio of adolescent deaths.
The number 1 way of preventing teen DUI is to prevent underage drinking by being a proactive parent. You can teach them about boundaries because fully prohibiting drinking may backfire. Tell them that you’re more than willing to pick them up from a party if there’s no sober driver.
Otherwise, you might make them curious as to why alcohol is forbidden. This doesn’t mean you condone underage drinking because you still need to teach them about the law.
Information and awareness are also crucial factors in dealing with teen DUI. Make sure to teach your kids about underage DUI without being too naggy. The moment you nag, they’ll pay less attention to what you’re saying and act out more. Educate them on the consequences while relating those concepts to things that are comprehensible to them. For example, you can tell them how much the fine is but equate it to maybe the price of a PS5. You can also introduce them to the concept of DUI lawyers who can defend them in court.
As a parent, one of the things you can teach your child is to choose their friends. This isn’t meant to be discriminatory in any way, but to teach them to choose good people. Their friends don’t need to be non-drinkers, but they have to be responsible young adults.
Any rule you impose at home has to be practiced by you as well. Otherwise, it will fly out the window as soon as your teen sees you breaking your rules. As the classic saying goes, “practice what you preach.”
That means, even if you’re of legal age, you shouldn’t drink and drive. The same confidence you exhibit when you do so is what will fuel your child’s desire to act like you. We’re not telling you to get rid of the beer packs in the fridge but don’t down the cans while in the car. If you want your kids to act responsibly, it has to start with you because you’re their role model.
Underage drinking is becoming a more common occurrence over the years despite the consequences. The statistics on teen DUI is staggering with almost 3,000 dying in fatal crashes yearly. However, taking alcohol and other substances is just the tip of the iceberg; they’re only symptoms. Often, there’s more underneath the desire to drink and abuse substances, a reason to run away.
As parents, you’d want to be more involved with their lives so you can monitor their growth. You should know if they’re experiencing some mental anguish that needs to be addressed early. Teenagers go through a lot during puberty and sometimes, therapy is necessary to go through it healthily. Most teen DUIs are undergoing some mental health problems, so a way to prevent it is to nurture them mentally.
And of course, as the parent, you’re also their role model so make sure to practice what you preach at home. You don’t need to be a helicopter parent to keep them safe. Some freedom will help teach them what they need to learn without resorting to extreme situations.