"Mothers Against Drunk Driving" and the "Boy Scouts of America" teamed up in a lifesaving mission to prevent underage drinking in Austin.
Jaime Gutierrez of MADD said studies have shown that parents are the greatest influence in our children. He said he realizes as a parent alcohol can be a difficult conversation to bring up, but it's one that needs to happen. “We talk to them about everything else, we might as well be able to talk to them about the dangers of alcohol and alcohol related incidents,” he said.
MADD and the Boy Scouts of America teamed up for the Second Annual Youth Protection Champion Symposium. More than 100 troop leaders, volunteers, and parents came together to help share tips about talking with children about alcohol. “It's never too early to talking to them about alcohol, alcohol use, what it can do to them physically, emotionally, but also the importance of having common sense not getting into a vehicle with someone who has been drinking it,” Gutierrez said.
According to TXDOT 101 young people ages 12-20 were killed in alcohol related traffic crashes last year in Texas. Of the 101 deaths, 70 of those involved drivers under 21 who had been drinking.
Gutierrez said part of the reason teens are susceptible to drinking alcohol is because the brain does not fully develop until early 20's. “We can't assume that they know what is right from wrong. Their reactionary times, and their ability to rationalize may not necessarily be that concrete as that of an adult,” he said.
Research shows parental influence can reduce a teen's risk of underage drinking by up to 30%. Jon Yates with the Boy Scouts of America attended the event. “When parents have conversations about topics like alcohol with their kids, it makes a significant difference, but it has to be ongoing, it can't just be just one moment in time,” he said.
To learn more about MADD's Power of Parents program, click here.