April is an appropriate month for national alcohol danger awareness, particularly for teens, on the heels of spring break and as we approach a steady stream of prom festivities and graduation parties.
Our Anderson personal injury lawyers know that a huge portion of the cases that are brought to us involve alcohol either directly or indirectly, most often involving alcohol consumption by someone operating a motor vehicle.
Teens are more at risk, especially this time of year, because they are less experienced behind the wheel, less likely to know their limits with alcohol, have more opportunities and are under a greater amount of peer pressure to drink toward the end of the school year.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving notes that when compared to classmates who don’t drink, high schoolers who imbibe are more likely to die in a car crash, become pregnant, fail out of school, be a victim of sexual assault, become addicted to alcohol and to commit suicide.
Some three-quarters of teenagers say their parents are their No. 1 influence when it comes to their decision of whether or not to drink alcohol. Consider that 65 percent of eighth-graders reported alcohol was easy to obtain, with 35 percent saying they had consumed alcohol within the last 30 days.
The Centers for Disease Control reports that in 2011, nearly 1 million teens drank alcohol before driving. Car crashes have remained the top cause of death for teens between the ages of 16 and 19, and alcohol is involved in about a third of these crashes. April is one of the deadliest months of the year for teen drivers, for the reasons we stated earlier.
South Carolina is among the worst in this regard, with the CDC reporting that between 11.3 and 14.5 percent of teens 16 and older who reported having driven drunk at some point.
There are many resources that involve how to talk to your teen about alcohol use. The National Institutes of Health recommend starting with a foundation of the following:
- Establish an open line of communication. You want to make it easy for your teenager to talk to you about anything. This involves initiating conversations, asking open-ended questions and controlling your emotions when you hear something you don’t like. Try to stay away from lecturing; make it a conversation.
- Make sure your child knows you care. Your counsel isn’t going to mean much if your teen doesn’t believe you care that much in the first place. Spend one-on-one time together in which you provide your loving, undivided attention.
- Set clear and realistic expectations for behavior. Establish consistent and appropriate consequences for breaking the rules.
MADD says it’s important for parents to drive home the following points:
- Drinking is illegal for teens;
- Drinking and driving is illegal for everyone – and there is a very good reason for that;
- Drinking affects the brain, particularly in terms of good judgement, and a person who is intoxicated is not going to be a good judge of whether they are Ok to get behind the wheel;
- Discuss ways to resist the intensive peer pressure that might accompany prom and graduation season.
Contact our South Carolina personal injury lawyers at Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.
Prom-oting Safe Behavior, April 8, 2013, Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Alcohol Awareness Month, April 3, 2013, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers
More Blog Entries:
Drivers Blatantly Disregarding Safety on NC Roadways, April 15, 2013, Anderson Personal Injury Lawyer Blog