Alcohol can be very dangerous when overused or when in the wrong hands. Unfortunately, many of the individuals who are at the greatest risk of being harmed are those who are not even legally allowed to drink. These individuals are teenagers.
Our Boston drunk driving accident lawyers know that teens are often not mature enough to make wise choices about whether to drink or about how much to drink. Teens often think that drinking is fun, cool or something that everyone does. They may not know just how many risks they take on if they make the choice to get drunk.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is working to change this and part of its efforts to do this involve naming April “Alcohol Awareness” Month.
Alcohol Awareness Month Information
Mothers Against Drunk Driving highlights the need for alcohol awareness month on its website by listing some of the undesired consequences of teen drinking. According to MADD, teens who drink alcohol are more likely to:
- Die in car wrecks.
- Become pregnant.
- Fail in school.
- Become a victim of sexual assault or rape.
- Become an alcohol as an adult.
- Commit suicide.
None of these outcomes are desirable for any teen, but all are very real consequences of a young person making the choice to consume alcohol. Most people are aware of some of these consequences, especially of the risks of drunk driving because this is such a deadly practice. However, few teens and few parents are aware that all of these potential outcomes are more likely when a young person drinks.
Further, as MADD points out, many parents are unaware that 68 percent of underage drinking deaths happen off the roads and are caused by other incidents besides traffic crashes. Taking away the keys, in other words, doesn’t remove all the risks associated with teen drinking.
Parents need to take a broader and more comprehensive approach to helping kids understand just how dangerous drinking can be.
How Parents Can Help Protect their Kids
Although MADD has bad news about the risks that young drinkers face, there is also some good news. The good news is that parents can make a huge difference in whether their child drinks or not. A full 74 percent of teens- almost three-quarters- indicate that their parents are the number one influence on whether they will consume alcohol.
MADD advises parents to open up a dialogue with their teenagers as a good first step towards discussing the real-world consequences of alcohol consumption. April’s Alcohol Awareness Month is the prime time to have such a discussion, and MADD has made available a booklet called the Power of Parents booklet, which is designed to help parents better communicate with their kids on the dangers of intoxicated driving.
MADD also has a Power of You(th) booklet that is designed to help teens who want to take a stand against underaged drinking to access research information and materials.
Hopefully, parents and teens will be inspired over this month to learn more about the dangers of underaged drinking. If teens learn about the risks they face and if parents enforce rules and boundaries, then teens will be less at risk of suffering injury or harm. Not only that, but keeping teen drunk drivers off the road can help to keep everyone safe including innocent victims who could be killed if a drunk teen got behind the wheel.
If you or a loved one was involved in a drunk driving accident in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.
USA Drunk Driving Limits Still Higher Than Elsewhere, Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog, April 5, 2013.