Teen Drivers

Car Talk

Drinking, Driving and Drugs

There's no excuse for using drugs or drinking while you drive. Ever.

Being impaired while driving not only takes the driver's life into intoxicated hands, but also the lives of passengers, and other innocent people on the road. Getting killed in an alcohol or drug-related crash is terrible. Surviving one when you've killed someone else is almost as bad.

A teenager's judgment is "impaired" to start out with. What we mean is that in a teenage view of the world, teens think they're invulnerable, they're overly interested in looking cool, and they're often obsessed with the opposite sex. (OK, so are we.) But any of these factors, even just one of these factors, can lead to risky behavior. Add alcohol or drugs, and all bets are off.

We advise zero tolerance on drinking, drugs and driving. If your teen has driven home, and has alcohol on his or her breath or seems otherwise impaired, that's evidence enough to us, and there should be serious consequences. After all, how else are you going to catch them, other than after an accident or an arrest? And you don't want to wait that long.

Watch out for excessive use of breath fresheners, gum or anything else that might disguise the use of alcohol or pot (sorry kids, we hate to blow your cover, but we're just trying to keep you around long enough so you can pay for our social security some day).

Here, too, we'd suggest that information from friends, family and neighbors be considered admissible evidence, and we suggest the direst consequences.