Happy New Year from all of us at ProCare Collision!
We hope you have a safe and happy 2020. It is a great time to celebrate all that we have accomplished this year and excited to see what the new year has in store. New Year’s Eve is a reason for celebration, but can also be a dangerous one.
Anyway, this exciting time can bring a lot of anxiety or squashed expectations to a parent and teen relationship. A teen with a car might feel entitled to go somewhere on their own or with friends. Parents might be worried about the safety of their kid, but also don’t want to be an overly-protective parent. A car collision on a holiday is always bummer, but a lot worse can happen. This is no small stuff.
Let’s start with the ground rules aka the Texas Teen Driving Restrictions. These can be a good starting point for an open dialog with your teen. A preliminary estimate, if you will.
Texas drivers 16 & 17 years old
Unless there’s an emergency, Texas teen driving laws prohibit provisional license holders from:
- Driving with more than one passenger who is under 21, excluding family members
- Driving between midnight and 5 a.m. unless traveling to or from a school-related function or work
- Driving while using any type of mobile device, including those that are hands-free
In Texas, it’s also considered a criminal offense if a driver under 21 is found to have any trace of alcohol in their system. In addition, any minor convicted of buying, possessing, or consuming a tobacco product could have their license suspended.
This opens the conversation to who will be in the car with the teen, curfew, mobile use, and alcohol usage. Parents can take the blame for restricting their teen’s rules, but they do have this easy way out. It’s the holidays, don’t make this too difficult.
Teens & alcohol
Now some teen and alcohol-related facts.
- The average age at which teens begin to drink is 13
- 87% of high school seniors admit to drinking alcohol
- 20% of senior students report binge drinking (five or more drinks in a row)
- The most likely holiday of the year for a teen to drink and drive is New Year’s Eve
- Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers; one out of three of those is alcohol-related
These are some alarming stats about teens & alcohol around New Years. Concerned parents can help their teen steer clear of dangers like drunk driving in a couple of ways. Again, the goal is for both the parent and teen to have fun, stay away from an emergency, and stay away from the auto body shop.
So, let’s start talking.
Bring up New Year’s Eve plans
First, the parent could start in a calm manner of bringing up that New Year’s Eve is ahead. This way the conversation starts on a happy tone for an informative experience on both sides. Through this talk, it is best to stay away from being defensive and angry. The parent can ask what the teen has planned for the holiday. Pick your battles wisely. If there is nothing your teen has planned on NYE, maybe this conversation isn’t needed yet.
Texas driving rules
If there is something concerning in the teen’s plan, this is a good time to gently remind them of the rules all Texas drivers must follow. Holidays aren’t an exception. This might make the teen defensive. The teen may see the parent as trying to keep them from their fun plans with friends.
Teen & alcohol stats
This is a good time to say some warm words of support and love to the teen. A parent can remind the teen that they are thinking about their wellbeing not trying to put a damper on their plans. Bring up the stats from earlier to help state your case. By showing the teen that a parent is open and has researched this can help keep the teen stay opened minded too.
This is the meat of the conversation. After both the parent and teen have stated their cases by now and they need to reach an agreement. Each relationship and agreement are different. Some agreements might mean hosting a sleepover/party, pulling the keys from a teen, or setting guidelines for the teen to go out.
No matter what happens both parties can state their case.
Good luck this holiday season, and Happy New Year from ProCare Collision.