Back to school might be a time of the year that parents look forward to, but for parents of teens just starting university or college, it can be a time of stress too. That’s when your child is about to stretch their wings for the first time and begin to do things without you, and you have to hope the knowledge you’ve instilled in them since they were young is enough to keep them safe.
But even if you assume your children know enough to stay on the straight and narrow, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is still urging parents to talk to their children about the dangers of impaired driving.
There are a few reasons why parents need to continue to discuss drinking and driving with their kids. To start, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among youth age 16 to 25, and 55% of those crashes are due to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 19 years old seems to be the most dangerous age to be a teen driver, because that’s the age when most of the youth are killed or seriously injured. That age coincides with the legal drinking age in Canada, and may be when your child has his or her first experiences with alcohol.
You don’t have to lecture your child when talking about impaired driving: just ask him or her what their thoughts are and start an open discussion. The main goal of any conversation should be to let them know what could happen if they made the choice to drink and drive, and that there are alternatives available including cab rides, public transit, and even calling Mom or Dad if you need them.
That send off for back to school will be a lot less stressful if you know you’ve done all you can to inform your child about the dangers of impaired driving.