How to Talk to Your Kids about Drink Driving

Posted on Aug 19 2013 - 11:37am by Charlie

If you have children, it is likely that they will start to drink alcohol at some point in their lives.  This is something you have to be able to discuss with your kids, not in the least to reduce the risk of drink driving incidents.  To help you prepare to have this conversation, there are a number of facts and figures you may want to know.


Statistics on Young Drinkers

  • 28.1% of young people between the age of 12 and 20 have consumed alcohol within the last month.  Over half of those are between the age of 18 and 20, but 6.1% is aged between 12 and 14.
  • 30.6% of young drinkers pay for their own alcohol.  26.4% are given their alcohol by a friend or relative, sometimes from friends who are underage themselves.
  • If young people have to pay for their own alcohol, they will generally drink more (around six drinks) than if they are given their alcohol for free (around four drinks)

Underage Drinkers and Drivers

When we consider that around a quarter of all young people between the age of 12 and 20 consumed alcohol in the past month alone, it goes without saying that there is also a pretty high percentage of drink drivers in that age category.  It is, in fact, true that drink driving amongst underage drinkers is higher than in any other age category.  The worst offenders are young boys, with 28.8% admitting to drive whilst intoxicated, versus 27.4% of female drivers.

How Do Underage Drinkers Get Alcohol?

One thing that baffles many parents is how their children are able to get their hands on alcohol.  Some recurrent issues still exist around fake identification, but most of the drinks underage drivers get their hands from come directly from people they know.  There are times when they take it from their parents or other friends and relatives without their consent, but it is also regularly given to them consensually.

One third of young people between the age of 18 and 20 purchase their own alcohol.  This is because they can usually pretend they are in fact old enough to make sure a purchase.  Only 23.5% of those between the ages of 15 and 17 are able to do the same, and only 7.5% of kids between the ages of 12 and 14 are able to purchase their own.

Armed with this information, you should be in a position to have a serious conversation with your children.  At the same time, however, you should perhaps do a little bit of soul searching about the role you play in their alcohol consumption as well.  Although giving drinks to minors is an offence, it does demonstrate that the minor will actually drink less.  Furthermore, if you are there with them, you can stop them from taking their vehicle afterwards.  Your role as a parent, however, is to keep your children safe and to stop them from making any serious mistakes – such as drink driving.  Some parents are now starting to put their children on drink driving courses as standard, which can have a very positive effect.

Jane Spencer is a renowned author of all things law related. She often refers to advice on driving offences.

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