With the upcoming prom season, we wanted to discuss drinking and driving or driving while under the influence. We know that teenagers are under age and it is against the law, but we are also very aware that teenagers still drive while under the influence.
So let's talk openly about it and keep a dialog going so that our teens feel more comfortable discussing it and possibly putting things into place. That way, if someone is under the influence—whether it be them or someone who they are with—they have a backup plan for arriving safely.
It is important teenagers understand that the rules have been set up to help keep everyone—especially them—safe. We can add the old clichés, such as "friends don't let friends drive drunk," but if you've noticed, commercials make a point to relay the dangers of "buzzed driving.”
Some schools sponsor Students Against Drunk Driving, or SADD, and it may be easier for them to relate to someone their age who communicates the dangers behind this action.
Discuss with them the various dangers that occur when the mind is impaired, which range from saying or doing something they may regret to becoming a casualty or victim.
Needless to say, teenagers are under the legal age to drink; therefore, they may be afraid to ask for help from an older generation. However, as parents and friends, we should not hesitate to express our concerns with them.
We should instead encourage them to be responsible enough to make it through this momentous occasion in order to experience many more momentous occasions in the future, like graduation day.
Reassure them that you will love them no matter what and that they need to call if they find themselves, their date or whoever is driving in an impaired state.
Let them know that you will not harass them for information that night if you have to pick them up. Talk to your teenager about making a game plan for the evening, which should include a backup plan for him or her to make it home safely.
As a parent, sharing some of your memories from your prom may help them see that you might be able to relate. Drunk driving is an important concern, and if you still feel overly nervous about the evening, pitch in and help them rent a limo.
Parents, the focus of the conversation needs to be about remaining safe all the way around.
The most unnecessary risks will be taken by our teens, who are trying to text each other to and from prom. Do not text and drive!
Talk to your children about the real affects that DUIs can have on people's lives. DUI is very dangerous and can forever ruin someone’s future.
People may think that they are OK to drive but don't realize that one drink can impair them. It only takes one time for someone to drive drunk, get in a car accident and then possibly kill someone.
That is something that the person drinking and driving will have to live with the rest of their lives. And it not only ruins the lives of a deceased person’s family, but also the lives of the families of those who drive drunk because that family has to live with knowing their loved one killed another person.
Driving drunk should never even cross someone's mind because all you have to do is make a phone call, whether it be to a friend, family member or a cab.
There are additional options available, such as a number of free-ride facilities for intoxicated motorists across Georgia. We encourage that these places be used.
For instance, an AAA Auto Club and Budweiser facility called "Tow To Go" offers free rides home to drunk drivers.
There are absolutely no excuses for driving while under the influence. Making a game plan and using available options will get you home safe, and everyone on the road will be safe because you made that one phone call.
Let all the families that have lost someone to drunk driving be your reason to make a phone call. Don't get behind the wheel, and to once again use a cliché: Friends, don't let your friends drive drunk!
Powder Springs-Lithia Springs Patch's Moms Council members:
- Kimberly and Kevin Smith have two children at , one at and one in preschool. While this is called the Mom Council, Mr. Smith's parenting expertise was too invaluable to pass up.
- Sonya Balogun has a child at Austell Intermediate and another in preschool.
- Denise Durbin-Carlton has two children who graduated from , one who graduated from , one attending , and one at Austell Intermediate.
- Melissa Kanzler has one child at Austell Intermediate and another at Austell Primary.