Now that we are a little over a month into the start of the new school year and homecoming is right around the corner, it's perhaps a good time for parents to sit down and have a discussion with any teen drivers in their household about both the dangers and consequences of impaired driving.
In fact, a recent study in the medical journal Pediatrics suggests that parents may actually want to have these types of conversations while their children are still in middle school.
Researchers from the RAND Corporation interviewed and assessed a group of roughly 1,200 students at the ages of 12, 14 and 16. Here, they determined that the attitudes children harbored about issues like drunk driving and marijuana served as "significant predictors" of their behavior later in life.
Specifically, they found that when children as young as 12 harbored largely positive beliefs about marijuana, they are perhaps more likely to either get into a car with someone who has been drinking or get behind the wheel themselves after drinking.
According to the researchers -- who did not find a cause-and-effect link, but rather an association -- the study results suggest that parents must make an effort to speak with their kids about the dangers of underage alcohol consumption, drug use and impaired driving at ages younger than they might otherwise think necessary.
In particular, they stress the importance of discussing things like peer pressure while also addressing family influences that could be setting a bad example.
It is indeed a good idea for parents to consider taking this relatively simple step from a purely criminal law perspective as well. That's because an arrest and conviction for underage drinking and driving can have very serious consequences outside of possible incarceration, large fines and license suspension. Indeed, it could result in a criminal record that jeopardizes a teen's employment and educational opportunities.
As such, if your child has been arrested for an underage DUI, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.