Lawrence Kansas DUI Attorney Says to Parents: Set Your Teen Straight about Drinking & Driving

Whether your teenager is in high school, attending college away from home or has entered the work force, one thing remains the same, teens are under a lot of peer pressure to drink alcohol. This combined with the fact that we live in a very car-dependent society, creates the potential reality for parents that at some point their teen may drink and drive. However, just because some teens choose to drink and drive does not mean that a parent must accept this fate for their teen. Rather they are things any parent can do to prevent his or her teenager from drinking and driving. The first step is to sit down and have a real conversation with your teenager about the issue of drinking and driving. During a frank chat with your teen on the subject, you may be shocked to learn the myths and misconceptions your teen may have about drinking and driving. Here are three of the most common myths that teenagers hold true about drinking and driving and tips for how you can set your teenager straight.

“I won’t get caught”: Most teenagers are under the mindset that bad things happen to other people. It may sound downright irresponsible to an adult, but many teens truly believe that they are invincible—a feeling that may become stronger when the teen is under the influence of alcohol. If your teen is operating under this myth, you need to give him or her a large dose of reality. Make sure that he or she is aware of these alarming statistics:

    • Teenage drivers are 3 times more likely than adults to be involved in a fatal crash and teens who under the influence of alcohol are at an even greater risk.
    • Drivers between ages 16 and 20 are 17 times more likely to die in a crash when they have a blood alcohol content at .08 than compared to drivers who are sober.

“I sobered up, so I am okay to drive”: Teenagers often have the mistaken belief that there are things a person can do to “sober up”. A teen might think if they drink lots of water or have a cup of strong black coffee, eat a big meal or take a cold shower that they will become sober and therefore, okay to drive. Explain to your teenager than there is no quick fix to become sober. The only thing that will lower a person’s blood alcohol content is time. Things like caffeine and a cold shower may make a person who has been drinking feel more alert—but in reality the person is just as intoxicated as before.

“I am not drunk, I am just buzzed”: How a teenager defines “drunk driving” may be very different from how the law defines the term. Many teenagers are under the misconception that if they can walk without staggering or talk without slurring their speech, that they are not “drunk” and therefore, okay to drive. Make sure your teen understands that buzzed driving is drunk driving. Explain to him or her that intoxication begins with the first drink, which can impair judgment, memory, and reaction time, all things that are critical to safely operate a motor vehicle. You will also want to remind your teen that it is against the law for a person who has not yet attained the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle after having consumed any amount of alcohol.

If you are a parent of a child who has been charged with underage drinking or DUI, you need an experienced Kansas criminal defense attorney. The Whitman Law Offices has been representing clients on alcohol related offenses in Lawrence and Northeast Kansas for over 35 years. To schedule a free and confidential consultation call (785) 843-9460 or visit us online. Do not trust your child’s future to just any attorney. Attorney Charles E. Whitman will take the time carefully review the facts of your child’s case and make sure that all possible defenses are explored.

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