"The Des Plaines Police Department wants residents to be aware of the following information:
Young drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 are more often in alcohol-related crashes than any comparable age group. In 2006, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA), 7,884 drivers, ages 15-20 years old were involved in fatal traffic crashes - killing a total of 8,666 persons and injuring 300,000 more.
As the weather warms and activity increases, so does the incident of drinking and driving, a deadly and dangerous combination. Around prom and graduation season, you can expect an elevated level of participation between the police department, community and businesses through education and enforcement strategies aimed at reducing the incidents of underage drinking.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW AS A PARENT:
- It is illegal for anyone under 21 to drink alcohol
- Under age 21, the brain is still growing and negatively affected by alcohol
- Parents can be prosecuted under the law for hosting underage drinking parties
- Parents can be held responsible if their children consume, purchase or possess alcohol
- It is unsafe and illegal to drink and drive (PlainTalk note: That goes for mom and dad as well as the teens in the household!)
THINGS YOU CAN DO AS A PARENT:
- Call other parents to ensure social events are alcohol free and chaperoned
Refuse to supply alcohol to anyone under 21
- Lock up your alcoholic beverages
- Make sure that alcohol is not brought in to your home or on your property by your teen’s friends
- Report underage drinking parties to police - Call 9-1-1
Motor vehicles are the leading cause of death for 15-20 years old in America. Parents play a crucial role in reducing the incident of underage drinking and driving. Always remember that you or any adult who serves alcohol to underage youth, or who is aware of it being served to underage youth on their property, can be liable for damages. If a serious injury or death occurs you could face a $25,000 fine and 1-3 years in prison."
We thank our Police Department and local organization MCYAF (Maine Community Youth Assistance Foundation) for their diligence and care in keeping our young people safe. On a personal note, I am a professional singer outside of my work here at the Library and some of my singing work includes funeral services. Funerals are never happy occasions but some of the most heart-breaking and painful that I have ever experienced have been services for the very young, killed while driving drunk or in a vehicle with a drunk driver at the wheel. The death itself can be an unbearable loss, particularly for parents, but it goes even deeper, destroying families & friendships, causing depression and damaging communities. Do your kids, their friends and your whole community a big favor this summer season and stop teen drinking and drug use before it starts.