You may have thought that letting your teenager get a scooter was a good compromise when he asked for a car. The scooter was much cheaper, and he can get to work and school reliably (but can’t go joyriding with a carload of friends). He has a good helmet and is a safe rider, so you were less worried than if he had a bigger vehicle...until he left a party after he had been drinking.
Drunk Driving to Blame for Many Underage Motorcycle Crashes
Underage drinking may be illegal, but it is still prevalent in teenagers across the U.S. More than 6,000 people under age 21 die in alcohol-related incidents, many of which are drunk driving crashes. If a teenager has been drinking, a bike or scooter does not provide the same protection as a car—with the result that a crash is more likely to be fatal.
Consider the following factors putting your teenager at risk:
- Alcohol is more likely to cause death in young people than all illegal drugs combined.
- Over 7,000 American children take their first drink when they are younger than age 16.
- Kids who start drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to become alcoholics than those who begin drinking after age 21.
- Roughly five college students are killed every day due to alcohol-related injuries.
- Teenagers are more likely to take risks while riding motorcycles, and are less likely to have the experience it takes to avoid an accident.
Take Action in April to Protect Your Loved Ones!
Since 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) has been raising awareness by designating the month of April as Alcohol Awareness Month. This year, NCADD is paying particular attention to alcohol-related problems in those 21 and under—a group especially likely to ride two-wheeled vehicles on Kansas City roads.
How can you help? Talk to your kids about underage drinking in a way that lets them know you want to help. Avoid blame, yelling, and punishments, and focus on treatment and talking about problems. Post a link to this article in a private Facebook message to let them know you have their best interests at heart. If you have a problem with alcohol, use this month as the incentive you need to get help. Children learn habits from their parents, and what you do can make more of an impression than what you say.