Graduation parties are difficult for parents. Your child deserves to celebrate his or her accomplishment with friends, but parents worry that partying will include alcohol and underage-drinking. You worry that your child will drink or, even worse, drink and drive. You want your child to celebrate, but you also want your teen to stay safe.

In 2011, the Liberty Mutual Insurance Company teamed up with SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) and interviewed nearly 2,300 11th and 12th graders. About ten percent of teens admitted to driving drunk after a party or event.

Event                                                 Percent of teens admitting to driving under the influence

New Year’s Eve                                           10%

4th of July                                                     8%

Prom                                                             6%

Homecoming                                                6%

High school football games                          6%

Other school events, dances                        5%

Graduation                                                    4%

But, the Liberty Mutual Survey also found that almost all (94%) teens were willing to stop driving under the influence if asked to by a parent. Instead of saying “no” to the party, remind your child that drinking is illegal for anyone under 21 years of age. Then, talk to your teen about the dangers of drinking and driving, and set some ground rules.

Talking Points for Discussing Drunk Driving with Teens

  1. Drinking is illegal for anyone under age 21.
  2. If you decide to drink anyway, don’t drive. Give your keys to a designated driver or another responsible person.
  3. Because drinking is illegal for teens, a teen may be considered to be driving under the influence with a BAC of .02 percent or higher. Legal penalties for driving under the influence may include fines, jail time, and license suspension. If you are caught driving under the influence, you will be responsible for these penalties.
  4. Being caught driving under the influence can affect your chances of going to college or getting a job.
  5. If your friend drinks, take his or her keys away. Do not get into a car with any driver who has been drinking or using drugs.
  6. If you need a ride for any reason, call home. We will pick you up.
  7. If a driver on the road appears to be intoxicated, pull over and get out of the way. When you are safe, call the police and report the driver.
Legal Lookout

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