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As the festive season approaches, typical Washington teens hope to go to lots of holiday parties. Although they are all underage, many of them may still partake in the consumption of alcohol at these events. How can you teach your teen to be responsible during this season of merriment?

While you may think or assume that since your teen cannot legally consume alcohol he or she is not doing so, this might not necessarily be the case. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 10 high school students ages 16 and older drinks alcohol and then gets behind the wheel of a car. When their blood alcohol content reaches 0.08%, this makes drivers ages 16-20 much more likely to get into an accident – 17 times more likely, in fact. Therefore, it is imperative that you make sure your teen does not become part of that statistic.

The most important thing you can do is be an active presence in your child’s life and set boundaries when necessary. You should think about drafting a parent-teen driving contract to be signed by both your teen and yourself setting rules for motor vehicle usage, including never getting behind the wheel once he or she has consumed any alcohol whatsoever. Have frequent discussions with your teen about the significance of obeying all alcohol and traffic laws. And, tell them that no matter what the circumstances, should they decide to drink they can always call you for a ride or to ask you to provide a taxi.

This information is provided for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as legal advice.