Missouri teens, like many teens across the U.S., are likely to experiment with drinking alcohol due to peer pressure and out of sheer curiosity.  As concerned Kansas City personal injury attorneys, we want parents to educate their teenager about the consequences of driving while drunk or under the influence. 

Here are a few practical tips and strategies to help parents and teens understand that serious accidents resulting in injury can occur to other parties due to the fact that he/she was driving under the influence of alcohol:

Put it in writing.  While it may sound silly, putting the rules in writing make it more concrete.  Teens need to think twice about the consequences of their actions.  Tell your teen in words (and in writing) that if he or she is discovered driving or riding as a passenger where alcohol is involved, it will mean automatic loss of his or her driver’s license and privileges.  Parents should also let their teens know that if they do participate in drinking, you are there to ensure they will get safe transportation and that they will not lose their driving privileges (although punishment for their actions may certainly result in other consequences).

Play by the Rules:  Hold up your end of the bargain and follow through with enforcing rules.  If you have found that your teen has driven while impaired or has been a passenger in someone else’s vehicle who has been drinking, take their driving privileges – even when poses an inconvenience for us, as parents.

Stay up Late and Wait:   Waiting up for your teenage son or daughter to come in late at night is also recommended.  Teens are smart; they know when you give them that hug, you are checking for signs of alcohol or liquor (odor, red eyes, breath, slurred speech, etc.)  When teens realize they are going to be put through these “tests” when they are suspected of drinking, they will be less likely to do it.

Talk to your Teen:  While many parents believe the conversations you have with teenage children go in one ear and out the other, teens do listen to your advice – much more than you may think.  Don’t put off having a discussion with your teen about the dangers of drinking and driving.  Teenagers are often pressured by their friends and peers to try alcohol and drugs at a very young age – 13 or 14.  Have the discussion before your child becomes involved in a situation involving alcohol, drugs, and driving.  It is a fact that teens who have parents who set clear boundaries and monitor their children’s activities are four times less likely to take part in activities or behavior that could put themselves or others at risk.

Know the Parents of your Teen’s friends:  It is critical to form alliances with the parents of your teen’s friends, so that you have a better idea of whether these parents may serve or allow teenagers to drink when attending a party at their homes.  Teens will often claim that the parties they attend are “substance free,” when this is not the case.  In fact, more than a quarter of teens have attended parties supervised by their friends’ parents at which they were served alcohol, although nearly 100% of parents claim they would never serve teens alcohol at parties.  Get close with other parents so that you have a good idea of whether you can trust your teen to attend parties hosted at the parents’ homes.

Don’t Drink Excessively Around Your Teen:  As Kansas City personal injury lawyers, we suggest making alcohol sparse around your home and if you choose to drink in front of your children, drink responsibly.

Recap:  Create and enforce rules; make a detailed plan for special occasions such as graduation night or senior prom; use alcohol responsibly around your children; and talk to your teen.

At Griggs Injury Law our personal injury lawyers represent victims of negligence and drunk driving auto accidents in the Kansas City metro and surrounding areas.  If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident caused by a negligent motorist or teenage driver who was intoxicated, give us a call today to learn more about your legal rights and the compensation to which you may be entitled.