We get press releases all day long: openings, awards winners, and stats. Lotsa lotsa stats. The CDC( Center for Disease Control) just put out its 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Study. Taken from a survey of 9th through 12th graders from around the country in both private and public schools, the study reports habits involving sex, drugs, dieting and more.
The good news from the results shows episodic heavy drinking is down 5% over the last decade among high school kids. Current alcohol use also declined by 5%, meaning less of the kids had had an alcoholic beverage in the last month.
If you don’t have teenagers in your life, you might forget that this is graduation party season. I’m always extra defensive driving this time of year, but then I come from an area where drunk driving is nearly a sport. The CDC has some disturbing facts about teens and driving, and it’s still the leading cause of death for teenagers. Let me drop some other recent facts from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on you:
In 2005, nearly 25% of drivers 15 to 20 who died in auto crashes had a BAC of 0.08 or higher.
In 2005, half of teen deaths from auto crashes occurred between 3pm and midnight on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
At any and all levels of BAC, the risk of an auto accident is much greater for teens than older drivers.
Yeah, so, that's why I don’t really like driving on the weekends this time of year. Some people blame alcohol for this, but I blame parents. Parents need to talk about alcohol with their kids, whether the parents drink or not. The worse thing you can do, as a parent, is to keep booze a taboo or fail to address it in a even-handed, frank manner with your kids. They’re smart, and defiant, so talk to them about acting stupid. And if you’re the cool uncle or older cousin, this is absolutely the job for you.
One more fact, according to research by The Century Council, 65% of kids 18 and under who DON'T drink count parents as a main influence in their decision.