Parents need to stop teen drunk driving

December 03, 2009

Once again, our community mourns the senseless death of a young person due to the mixture of alcohol and driving ("Ex-River Hill player charged in fatal DUI," Nov. 30). Even though we continually try to educate and warn teens about the dangers of drinking and driving, it still remains the leading cause of death for the 15-to-25-year-olds. Every weekend there are parties held where underage drinking occurs and teens begin to play Russian roulette with their lives.

Being teenagers, most of them feel invincible and think these tragedies only happen to someone else. I'm sure that Steven Dankos from River Hill High School never thought he would lose his life in an alcohol-related car crash, and I am sure he was told over and over never to get into a vehicle driven by an intoxicated driver. But for some reason he did, and he paid the ultimate price. What more can we do to convince our youth that mixing alcohol and driving is a deadly combination? The ultimate responsibility lies with their parents. While every parent wants their child to be successful, happy and popular, we have to ask: at what price?

Parents know about the underage drinking parties that go on every weekend, but how many try to stop them? Not enough. We can try to scare our teens from drinking and driving, but until parents say enough is enough, we will continue to witness these preventable tragedies.Mike Gimbel, Timonium

The writer is the former Baltimore County director of substance abuse and a founder of Students Against Drunk Driving of Maryland.

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