According to the CDC:

Nearly one million high school teens drank alcohol and got behind the wheel in 2011.

Now the good news:

Drinking and driving among teens in high school has gone down by 54% since 1991.

Other facts about teen drinking and driving:

  • 85% of teens in high school who report drinking and driving in the past month also say they binge drank. In the survey, binge drinking was defined as having 5 or more alcoholic drinks within a couple of hours.
  • 1 in 5 teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had some alcohol in their system in 2010. Most of these drivers (81%) had BACs* higher than the legal limit for adults.

Of the things parents can do, this probably goes without saying:

  •  Understand that most teens who drink do it to get drunk.

Other things parents and teens can do to prevent drinking and driving can be found here.

Parent-Teen Driving Agreement from the AAP and the CDC can be found here.

I require teenagers to promise me four things when I sign their driver’s permit application:

  • You will never drink and drive.
  • You will never be a passenger in the car if the driver has been drinking.  Even if you have been drinking.  You will call someone who is sober to pick you up and drive you home.  If you call your parents, they will probably be mad for a bit, but then they will be proud you did the right thing.
  • You will not TEXT while driving.  Really.  Keep your cell phone away from you when you are driving.
  • When you drive through a neighborhood, drive very (very!) slow.  You don’t want to hit a little kid, and you don’t want to run over your pediatrician who is out walking his dog!