Throughout life there are a lessons learned and embedded into our psyche; Ones that leave a lasting impression and that shape us as individuals , dictating choices we make for the future.
These impressions come from a variety of sources - the neighborhood we lived in; people in our lives - from our parents, friends or teachers - to that stranger on a street corner. Each memory is a misshapen piece that indelibly will coincide and be interwoven with other pieces to complete the complex puzzle, of the self, in each of us.
Yet it isn't just impressions that shape us - it is more primal than that. Our makeup is derived by genes who are manipulated and tousled, surviving generations after generation. Where do these genes come from? From our descendants - passed down from our families.
For allot of us, even in the most dysfunctional of circumstances - family means allot. Having a need for family to gather around us in celebration is a need that is echoed across cities, states --- for that matter across the globe.
But it can be those same joyous occasions with the right conditions that can trigger a deadly domino effect. When you have a family, their safety is important. When tragedy strikes it can rock your world. No one wants to be affected by an intoxicated driver. Yet everyday in the United States 36 people die and 700 people are injured from alcohol related crashes1. Those statistics are sobering.
I have first hand experience of a loved one being injured by a drunk driver - It doesn't matter the extent of injuries or there severity. Once an unknowing car is struck - whether broadsided, T-boned ,clipped or Rear-ended ---their lives and their families lives are changed forever.
The scary thing about alcohol is that teen drivers are the most vulnerable. Teens push the envelope when it comes to vehicle safety, there is a tendency to underestimate and not recognize dangerous situations4. When any alcohol is involved , teens risk of crash /fatalities is far greater than any older age groups2. In 2005, 3 out of 4 teens who were killed in alcohol related crashes were not wearing their seatbelt3 . In 2005, male drivers aged 15-20 yrs old who were involved in fatal crashes %38 had been speeding and %24 had been drinking5,6.
Because of the importance of educating our teens, MADD - a non-profit organization aimed at giving needed support to DUI victims and preventing underage drinking, has stepped up to the plate this season, conveniently as this December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month to unveil their campaign entitled: The Power of Parents.
Did you know - %74 of teens turn to the parents for guidance on drinking? The Power of Parents campaign aims to give parents of teens tools, and access to resources which can help empower them when talking to teens about underage drinking.
You will find on The Power of Parents site: Expertly written videos, guides and pamphlets available via download. There is also "Ask an expert" section for all your questions, plus an online community where you can network with other parents and share experiences.
Right now as of the recent launch, there is a section specifically for parents of highschool aged teens. But check back soon because there are several sections planned for: Elementary parents , Middle School parents, and College parents.
The site is very user friendly and you can also participate in the conversation via Twitter: @maddparents, or Facebook: Power of Parents Fan Page .
If you have time, I have 2 pamphlets in pdf format, available for download from The Power of Parents campaign.
Links for More Information:
- Impaired Driving Fact Sheet
- Teen Driver Fact Sheet
- December: National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month
- Teen Driver Resources
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
- Underage Drinking Statistics
- Drunk Driving Statistics
- MADD Blog
- Highschool Safety Quiz
- Support 21 Survey
Hopefully the statistics, and links I provided will help educate you, your family or friends. Be safe this holiday season!
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
2 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Fatality facts: teenagers 2005. Arlington (VA): The Institute; 2006 [cited 2006 Dec 1].
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States, 2005 [Online]. (2006b). National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (producer). Available from: URL: http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/yrbss/CategoryQuestions.asp?cat=1&desc=Unintentional.* [Cited 2006 Nov 28]
4 Jonah BA, Dawson NE. Youth and risk: age differences in risky driving, risk perception, and risk utility. Alcohol, Drugs and Driving 1987;3:13–29.
5 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Dept. of Transportation (US). Traffic safety facts 2005: speeding. Washington (DC): NHTSA; 2006a [cited 2008 March 28]. Available from: URL: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd-30/NCSA/TSF2005/SpeedingTSF05.pdf.
6 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Dept. of Transportation (US). Traffic safety facts 2005: young drivers. Washington (DC): NHTSA; 2006b [cited 2008 March 28]. Available from: URL: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.govf.