If you are going to give a teen the keys to a car, you must have a conversation about drinking and driving.
Here are some tips for parents and their discussing drinking and driving;
Set clear rules against drinking and driving. You are not their friends – you are their parents. You can be strict without feeling guilty. This rule is non-negotiable: “NEVER ever drink and drive.”
Put a no drinking and driving rule in writing. Have your teen sign a contract to never drink and drive. They are young adults and are now responsible for their actions. Stress to your teen that drinking and driving—either as the driver or passenger—means an automatic loss of his or her driving license. Then make a pact: if your teen calls for a ride, he can keep that license.
Form an alliance with other parents. Know your teen’s friends and their parents. Make a pact to monitor each other’s kids and pledge that there will be no unsupervised parties and that liquor (or drugs) will not be made available to anyone underage.
Create a secret code with your teen. Don’t let your child’s embarrassment of having to call you prevent them from making the right decision. Create a text code like “1-1-1” or a phrase such as “I’m getting sick” so they can save face and still alert you that they need a way to get home. Also, make a pact with a trusted adult that if you’re not available, your teen knows he can call that person for help.
Create a safety net for special occasions
Prom and graduation night are teen occasions when alcohol is more prevalent and drunk driving accidents peak. Come up with a plan for these events and use the bullet points below as a guide.
· Designate other peers, older siblings or younger classmates as drivers who don't drink.
· Consider hiring a limo for a group of teens who are going to an event together.
· Don’t let your teen rent a hotel room after an event. Limit the amount of driving.
Talk it through with your teen. Quiz them on certain situations (e.g. what do you do if you had a few beers and you drove?). Tell them what you will do once they answer. Remind them that you BOTH signed the contract.