If you are a parent of a teenager or young adult, you probably know that initiating a discussion about sensitive subjects is not easy. Listening to Mom or Dad and taking their advice is not always what they feel like doing.
Sometimes, however, having those talks is absolutely necessary, especially if children are driving and partying with their friends and alcohol is available. Two facts should emerge in any conversation about this important topic.
One is that drunk driving and its serious, even deadly, consequences is preventable. The other is that the human toll drunk driving takes is immense. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10,142 people died in drunk driving crashes in 2019. That number scarcely encompasses the heartbreak experienced by the family members and friends of those who perished.
When to approach your kids to discuss drunk driving and what to say
- If you wait for the “right time” to have this talk, you will most likely put it off indefinitely. Try to bring it up during a relaxed moment such as when you are all having dinner, doing errands together, going somewhere in the car or when your child asks to borrow the car.
- Make your expectations clear. Say that driving after they have been drinking is unacceptable and that getting into a car with someone who is inebriated is also dangerous.
- Your child may be in a situation when someone who is drunk offers him or her a ride home. Explain that declining a ride in those circumstances is alright and that there are safe alternatives. Calling you, another family member or a friend for a ride home is okay, as is contacting a taxicab or a ride share service. Remaining where they are for the night if it is safe to do so is another possibility.
- Assure your children that you are bringing up this subject because you care about their well-being.
An experienced attorney in Virginia can be a helpful source of information about drunk driving accidents and the law.