As summer approaches, we would like to take this time to remind parents and teens of the increased risk of danger associated with drinking and driving, which is the cause of many fatal car accidents in San Antonio each year. In fact, high school and college graduation ceremonies carry with them an increased risk of injury or death due to alcohol related incidents, including car and truck accidents.

As teens and young college grads celebrate, many of them will attend parties involving underage drinking. These parties pose a significant risk to the teens themselves, as well as the community. Many teens will choose to get behind the wheel, often afraid of the repercussions of calling parents or family for a ride. Unfortunately, some of these teens will be killed in accidents, along with other innocent victims. Therefore, we offer the following tips to help keep your teenagers safe during this graduation season:

  1. Talk to your teens. One of the best things parents can do is talk to their teens about underage drinking, emphasizing the dangers of driving, or riding with someone who has had ANYTHING to drink, no matter how little it may have been.
  2. Provide a Safe Harbor. Another important thing that parents can do is provide a “no questions asked” ride for their teenagers in the event that they decide, against their better judgment, to participate in underage drinking. Let your children know that you would rather they call you or another family member for a ride than to get behind the wheel of a car, and that you will provide them with a ride with “no questions asked.” This may be hard for parents, but I believe that ever parent would agree that it’s better than losing a child in a drunk driving accident.
  3. Bring the Party Home. One thing that parents can do is plan and host “alcohol & drug free” graduation parties at their home. Parents can even opt to hire chaperones in order to give their teenagers the space that most teens desire.

The bottom line is that during graduation each year, teen deaths increase dramatically, largely due to alcohol related incidents. By having the difficult conversations with teens about the risks of drinking and driving, parents can help avoid tragedy and keep their children safe.