Keeping our Teens Drug and Alcohol Free

Impaired Driving: Conversations to Have with Your Teen

As winter break approaches, I look forward to spending time with my family and friends snowboarding, skiing, sledding and celebrating the holidays. As a traffic safety educator, I’ve accepted there are impaired drivers on the roads at all times of day and night, and I bring this to the attention of my driver education students. I highlight the possibility of coming across impaired drivers and how to best avoid collisions. Winter break means more time for students to be with their friends so I educate them on how to avoid unsafe behaviors and remain drug and alcohol free.

An article in CTAD’s October newsletter, written by one of our very own HPHS parents, highlights the importance of 60-one minute conversations as an effective strategy for openly communicating with your teen in a caring, meaningful and supportive way. Your ongoing conversations surrounding safety MATTER.

Safety facts to jump start a 60 second conversation with your teen:

  • Drivers under the influence of alcohol or marijuana experience increased lane weaving, poor reaction time and altered attention to the road.
  • Marijuana use affects motor skills and brain functions that are critical to driving including vigilance, alertness, time/distance perception, reaction time, focused attention, lane tracking, coordination and balance.
  • You must be over 21 to buy, use, possess, or transport marijuana and alcohol. Violations can result in a driver’s license being revoked or suspended.
  • Minors may not use fake IDs to purchase alcohol/marijuana or gain entry into marijuana dispensaries. These violations can also result in a suspended license.
  • It is illegal to provide alcohol or marijuana to anyone under the age of 21.

Find more on teen driving safety on CTAD’s Local Laws for New Drivers fact sheet.

Sandra Wichner
HPHS Delta Youth Staff, Swim Coach and Educator

Source: Illinois Cannabis and Tax Regulation Act, National Institute on Drug Abuse