Now that it's officially fall, high school homecoming games and dances will be on the agendas of students all over Tennessee and Kentucky. But these autumnal rites of passage frequently involve underage drinking and driving.
That's an unfortunate recipe for a deadly disaster, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as:
-- Over 50 percent of all fatalities in collisions where teenage drivers are involved happen on weekends.
-- Of the teenage drivers involved in fatal car crashes, 22 percent were drinking.
-- Teenagers who drink alcohol have higher incidences of binge drinking than adults.
These worrisome statistics don't mean that your teen has to sit home on the big night, however. Parents can take steps to keep their teens safer and avoid the pitfalls of a DUI on homecoming night.
It's up to parents to communicate with teens about underage drinking, as parents still have a big influence on their teenagers' decisions about drinking alcohol. Studies indicate that kids whose parents neglect to discuss underage drinking with them perceive their parents to be indifferent on the subject, which makes the kids more likely to turn to alcohol.
But talking isn't enough. Parents also have to determine who their teens will be with at these events, and will they be chaperoned by other parents. Don't be afraid to contact other parents, either by phone or over social media to verify plans. Get a feel for the parents attitude about teens drinking in their home — is this something they condone? If so, you might have to insist on an alternative plan instead.
Hosting sober after-parties in your home or at a location in the community is a good option for a group of parents to consider. Arranging for a shared limo or party bus to take the revelers to and from the locations can ensure that a sober, professional driver is behind the wheel at all times.
Despite a parent's best intentions, sometimes teens disobey laws and rules. If your teen winds up arrested on DUI charges, ensuring they get the best defense possible can protect their future.
Source: Scram Systems, "5 Tips To Prevent Underage Drinking During Homecoming," accessed Sep. 23, 2016