Teen drivers and New Year’s Eve – the dangers are real

Teen drivers and New Year’s Eve – the dangers are real

Teen drivers and New Year’s Eve can pose a potentially dangerous situation. Teens are anxious to get together with friends, especially after nearly two years of dealing with an isolating pandemic. They want to get together to say goodbye to 2021 and ring in 2022. However, concerned parents (like YOU!) worry about risky temptations and the bad decisions of other drivers on New Year’s Eve. While it’s a time for celebration, it’s also a very dangerous time for new and inexperienced drivers.

Teen drivers and alcohol

NYE Champagne

As posted by Stanford Children’s Health

Alcohol isn’t just illegal for teenagers to consume – it can be deadly if they drink and drive. In fact, drunk driving is one of the most frequent causes of death among teens. Alcohol impairs most of the skills that young drivers need the most, such as their reaction time, their vision, and their judgment.

Teen drivers and alcohol add up to a potentially deadly situation, especially on New Year’s Eve. Your child may not consume alcohol at all, but other drivers on the road might not make the same choice. Coupled with a teen driver’s inexperience, he or she may not know who to handle a dangerous situation when confronted with a drunk driver. Plus, when teens drive after drinking alcohol, they are more likely than adults to be involved in a crash, even when drinking less alcohol than adults.

Teen drivers and New Year’s Eve

If you’re worried about your teen driver on New Year’s Eve, you are not alone. Just take a peek at these scary, but true statistics about teens and alcohol on normal days. The stats most certainly go up on New Year’s Eve.

  • The average age at which teens begin to drink is 13.
  • 87% of high school seniors admit to drinking alcohol.
  • 20% of senior students report binge drinking (five or more drinks in a row).
  • The most likely holiday of the year for a teen to drink and drive is New Year’s Eve.
  • Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers; one out of three of those is alcohol-related.

What’s a concerned parent to do about teen drivers and New Year’s Eve?

teen drivers and New Year's Eve

Safe, responsible drivers do not drink and get behind the wheel – period. Right? Yes, that’s true, but teen drivers and New Year’s Eve can be a dangerous combination. There are just too many opportunities and temptations to make poor decisions.

As a concerned parent , you can help your teen steer clear of dangers like drunk driving or being a passenger of friends who have been drinking. It’s also a great time to open a serious conversation about the terrible consequences of drinking and driving on New Year’s Eve (or ANY time!).

Here are a few tips to open that all-important discussion.

  • Be clear – Highlight what is best for your teen’s safety and give examples of potentially risky behaviors of other teens that should be avoided.
  • Be openTeen drivers will be more receptive to your message if they sense you are being up-front. Respect your teen – and insist you are treated respectfully, as well.
  • Show you care – Focus conversations on your goal of keeping your teen safe and healthy.
  • Offer help – Despite good intentions, your teen could end up in a situation where alcohol is present. Before that happens, let your teen know you are available to provide a ride home from any uncomfortable or risky situation.
  • Establish rules and consequences – Setting boundaries will clarify your expectations and can inform your teen’s decisions down the line. Create a parent-teen agreement that puts these expectations and consequences in writing.

Get all the details on New Year’s Eve

teen drivers and parents The most important thing that you can do to ensure your teen is safe is to talk about expectations beforehand. Parents should provide leadership, guidance and boundaries. Even if you think you have already talked about making safe choices, New Year’s Eve is a very important time to repeat this message.

If your teen driver goes out on New Year’s Eve, be sure to get all the information and every detail. Teen drivers and New Year’s Eve is a worrisome combination. Make sure that your teen driver provides a complete itinerary for the evening, including whom they will be with and where they’ll be going.

Set the rules beforehand

Before your teen driver heads out on New Year’s Eve, establish a couple of mandatory calls or texts during the night. Come to a fair decision on a curfew, based upon your teen’s age and past level of responsibility. Plus, know who is driving.

Give your teen the unconditional option of calling you at any time for help. This should include picking them up at any time of day or night, with a promise not to shame or humiliate them in front of their friends.


Teen drivers and New Year’s Eve:
Should you pull the keys?

The absolute safest thing a parent can do is to pull the keys on teen drivers on New Year’s Eve. Yes, you don’t want to be THAT parent, but too many other drivers make unwise, unsound and unsafe decisions.

On this particularly dangerous holiday, it’s okay to put your foot down. It’s better to have a surly teen safe under your roof than to wonder and worry about his or her whereabouts when the clock strikes midnight.

Teen drivers and New Year’s Eve:
Should you have a party at home?

NYE teen party

While it may be more comfortable to have teens consume alcohol in your own home under your supervision, it is both risky and illegal. Georgia law forbids providing someone under 21 with alcohol. Plus, you could be held civilly liable for damages resulting from a person under the influence of alcohol served in your home.

Tell your teen to invite some friends over to play board or video games. Provide an abundance of snacks (they can eat a LOT) and non-alcoholic drinks. At the stroke of midnight, pop open a bottle of alcohol-free champagne.

Then, take a deep breath, mom or dad. Teen drivers and New Year’s Eve can give you a few grey hairs, but with the right choices, your new driver will be safe and sound.

Be smart. Be safe. Happy New Year from Drive Smart Georgia.

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