teen drinking and driving

Drinking, driving, and your teen

Car crashes are still the leading cause of death for teens, and about a quarter of those crashes involve an underage, intoxicated driver — the leading factors in fatal accidents. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers —drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of .08 or higher. And that’s just those who were legally drunk. In 2017, over 1,800 people died in alcohol-related crashes where drivers had lower BAC levels.


Each year, 4,300 people are killed due to teen alcohol use — more than all other drugs combined. There are ways to discourage underage drinking and driving, and it usually begins at home.

Be honest

Hey, it’s not easy admitting that it’s possible your kid could find him or herself at a party with a drink in hand, and it’s even tougher to imagine them getting behind the wheel. But according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), only one in 100 parents believes that their teen binge drinks. In reality, one in seven teens do it.

Instead of giving your kids a list of what not to do, try creating a “safe zone.” Tell your teen they won’t be punished for calling for help; it can help them make better decisions down the road if they know they won’t get in trouble.

Lead by example

In other words, don’t be a hypocrite. Don’t let your kids see you have a drink — yes, even one — and get behind the wheel. 

Resist the “cool” label

Yeah, we get it. Most parents want to appear hip to their teenagers and their friends, but don’t let that come at a price. You may have heard your friends say, “Well, isn’t it safer and easier to let Joey drink at home with his friends instead of somewhere else?”

Perhaps, if jail time, exorbitant legal fees, and risking children’s lives seems “easier.” And there's nothing cool about that. 

Host the party yourself

Rain or shine, teens love partying with their friends. Why not offer to throw the shindig at your place? An alcohol-free event can still be a lot of fun — just turn up the music and provide all the food your kids and their friends can devour. 

Are they covered?

Contact a Grinnell Mutual agent to make sure your whole family has the auto coverages they need.

Contact an agent

The information included here was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, however Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company and its employees make no guarantee of results and assume no liability in connection with any training, materials, suggestions or information provided. It is the user’s responsibility to confirm compliance with any applicable local, state or federal regulations. Information obtained from or via Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company should not be used as the basis for legal advice or other advice.