Teen Drunk Driving – What’s A Parent To Do?

In March 2012 Kimberly McCarthy made headlines when she was arrested 3 times in 17 days for DUI. This 18-year-old certainly needs a criminal defense lawyer in Tampa. Her story is a wakeup call to parents everywhere to talk to their teens about the dangers of drinking and driving.

Girl Sitting Drinking Alcohol

photo provided by Incase


Teenage drinking and driving carries serious consequences that range from legal troubles to potential accidents and even death. DUIs are expensive and can carry long lasting consequences for teenage and other drivers. Teens are just learning to drive and their risk of accidents is already high; adding alcohol to the mix just compounds the problem and results in an accident waiting to happen. Alcohol related accidents take lives, but they can be prevented. Here are some tips to help you encourage your teen to drive responsibly:

  • Talk to Your Teen – It might seem like your teenager never listens, but you’d be surprised at how much they hear. Talk to your teen about the dangers of teenage drinking. Encourage them to choose other activities and to abstain from alcohol. Talking about the dangers of drinking isn’t enough; talk to your teen specifically about drinking and driving.
  • Provide Safe Alternatives – In an ideal world teens would never drink, but mistakes do happen and your teen needs a safe way to get home, even if they have been disobeying you. Let your teen know that you are always there to help them get home if they, or their friends, have been drinking. Helping your child get home after a night of drinking doesn’t mean that you condone their behavior and doesn’t mean that you can’t punish your child for their poor choices. Let your teen know that you are happy to pick them up
  • Know Where Your Teen is Going – When your teenager is heading out for the evening ask them where they will be going and what they will be doing. They may lie, but many teenagers will be open and honest with their parents. Take an interest in your child and in their activities and friends.
  • Set a Good Example – Many teens learn appropriate alcohol related behavior from their parents. Know your limits. Plan for a designated driver or call a cab when you go out. Set a good example for your child by practicing what you teach.



Prevention is easier than picking up the pieces after your teen decides to drink and drive, but unfortunately won’t always keep a problem from happening. If you do find out that your teen has been driving drunk it is important to take action. Don’t ignore the problem. Your teen needs help.

  • Create Penalties – Drinking and driving should carry consequences for your teenager, whether or not they are caught by law enforcement. If you catch your teen drinking and driving make sure that you create appropriate punishments to help them learn their lesson. Alcohol treatment or education may be needed.
  • Take the Keys – If you know your teen drinks and drives, take the keys away. Offer to pick them up and drop them off when they go out with friends.
  • Hire an Experienced Lawyer (If Needed) – If your teen is arrested for drunk driving they will need a lawyer. If you are in the state of Florida feel free to contact our firm. We bring more than 20 years of combined legal experience to each and every case. We are passionate about criminal defense law and will work hard to ensure the best possible outcome for your child’s case.
  • Love Them Anyway – Kids make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need parental love and support. Help your teen to get the help they need.

Teen drinking and driving is a serious problem. Help your teen to understand the consequences of drinking and driving so that they don’t end up in the same situation as Tampa teen Kimberly McCarthy.

How can parents teach teens about the dangers of drinking and driving?  What would you do if you were the parent of Kimberly McCarthy?

Leave a Reply