Did you know…17% of alcohol-related fatalities were children and youth ages 0 – 20.

When we had children, the first in 1985, my husband and I decided that one parent needed to be completely sober at all times; therefore, I became the designated driver/parent. I’ve never really liked alcohol much, so it was an easy decision for us that the responsibility fall on me.  It may sound weird to actually stipulate it, but my husband is a fire fighter and he’s seen what alcohol can do to a family.  When both parent are drinking, even a drink or two, that leaves no one to take the child to the hospital/urgent care center should an emergency happen.  For us, it was important that one of us be in total control at all times.

Unfortunately, many people drive after drinking. In our house the rule is if you’ve had even one drink, you’re not to drive.  When our kids were teens we promised them that we would pick them up, no questions asked, whether they were the passenger or the driver.  Of course, we provided them with all the information about underage drinking – the risks, the penalties if caught and encouraged them strongly never to drink until they became of age.  We never provided them with alcohol or allowed them to “sip” ours (at any age) and never knowingly ok’d them to attend a party that would have alcohol.

I’m happy to say, my kids are 22 and 24 and they’re as strict about drunk driving as we are, so far. I never say never, but my hope is by our example they’ll make good choices. With New Year’s Eve coming up tomorrow, it’s an opportunity to remind the boys how important it is not to drive after drinking.  We don’t get into the “how many drinks in how many hours are safe” discussion because again, we have a zero tolerance.  Years of my husband scraping drunks off the pavement , pulling them out of cars, and having to care for those they hurt or killed, has made us totally aware of the consequences, and there just isn’t any liquor that tastes good enough to pay that price.

Please listen to Emily’s story about how Buzzed Driving changed her life.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) and the Ad Council are asking everyone to drive smart this holiday season and to pledge not to drive buzzed.
For information,  follow Buzzed Driving on Twitter (@buzzeddriving) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/buzzeddrivingisdrunkdriving) to get the latest updates and news.  You can also visit the Buzzed Driving website (http://buzzeddriving.adcouncil.org/) where readers can sign a pledge to not drive buzzed, play an interactive game which demonstrates the difference between buzzed and drunk, and hear personal stories from people who have driven buzzed.

If you aren’t able to make the choice not to drink and drive, consider getting help. You may have an addiction that requires treatment.  Treatment can save your life, as well as those who may innocently get in your path.

Here are some resources to help you talk to your kids about buzzed driving and underage drinking. Start talking to them about it when they’re young, don’t wait until they’re teens:

  • A Family Guide to Keeping Youth Mentally Healthy & Drug Free
  • Community How To Guides on Underage Drinking Prevention
  • Download Free Collegiate Impaired Driving Prevention Manual
  • SADD and the Law
  • Youth Fatal Crash and Alcohol Facts, 2000
  • Zero Tolerance Means Zero Chances

Have a safe and happy New Year, and remember that buzzed driving IS drunk driving and make the choice to have a safe holiday for yourself and those you might potentially harm.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION – I have not received any compensation for writing this content and I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein.

  • MADD: The Power of Parents to Curb Underage Drinking (susanheim.blogspot.com)
  • A Sobering Statistic in New York and Other States: Alcohol Still Kills Too Many Drivers (zifflaw.com)
  • Under the influence of alcohol or parents? You choose. (cballan.wordpress.com)
  • Don’t Let the Holidays Be Ruined By Drinking and Driving, Kentucky Lawyer Says (prweb.com)
  • Texas County Will Use Twitter To Publish Drunk Drivers’ Names (yro.slashdot.org)
  • Texas County To Name Drunk Drivers On Twitter (huffingtonpost.com)