New MADD and Nationwide Research Shows Parents Must Show & Tell When Speaking with Kids About Dangers of Riding with a Drinking Driver
Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD), the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), and Power of Parents® program National Presenting Sponsor Nationwide and National Supporting Partner GM Foundation join together to empower parents with the information and tools they need to talk with their kids and teens about the dangers of underage drinking and encourage them to never ride with a drinking driver. New survey data released this week highlights the importance of parents’ actions, in addition to their words, when it comes to influencing their children’s decisions around alcohol and riding with a drinking driver.
“As our children’s biggest influence and role model, it’s our responsibility to Show & Tell. It’s our place to not only talk about positive actions, but also to set the example with our own actions,” said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church, whose 18-year-old son Dustin was killed by an underage drunk and drugged driver. “PowerTalk 21 Day, April 21st, is an opportunity for parents to start these ongoing conversations with their children about alcohol ahead of prom, graduation and summer vacation.”
In advance of PowerTalk 21 Day, April 21st, the national day for parents to begin ongoing conversations with their children about alcohol, a new MADD and Nationwide survey revealed that 80 percent of parents surveyed nationally have talked with their children about alcohol and 80 percent surveyed have talked with their children about the dangers of riding with a drinking driver. However, the survey indicated that parents might not know their actions play a large role influencing their children. Specifically in Texas, nearly 55 percent of parents surveyed said that they’ve had a drink or two at dinner and then driven their children home in the past year. In addition, more than one in four Texas parents surveyed admitted to riding with a drinking driver in the past year.
What parents might not realize, is that by doing so, they might put their kids at an increased risk of riding with a drinking driver. Research from the Pennsylvania State University’s Department of Biobehavior Health found that children are more willing to ride with a drinking driver if they see their parents do so.
“Research shows it’s important for parents to talk with their children about not riding with a drinking driver, and modeling positive behavior can greatly impact their children’s willingness to ride with a drinking driver,” said Robert Turrisi, PhD, professor and researcher at Pennsylvania State University and co-author of MADD’s Power of Parents handbooks.
Studies have shown that parents, not their peers, have the greatest influence over their kids’ decisions about alcohol. That’s why TxDOT, along with Nationwide and GM Foundation, is supporting MADD’s Power of Parents program and hopes to empower Texas parents with this information and provide them with the tools they need to make the most of their influence.
“We are pleased to have TxDOT’s support in our Texas efforts to prevent teen alcohol deaths in our state,” said MADD Texas Executive Director Jaime Gutierrez. “Together, we are encouraging parents to use their influence and talk with their children about the dangers of underage driving and never riding with a driver who has been drinking.”
PowerTalk 21 is launching at a crucial time, when many teens will soon be attending celebratory events like prom and graduation parties where they may encounter opportunities or peer pressure to drink or ride with a drinking driver. In Texas, 101 young people ages 12 to 20 were killed in alcohol-related traffic crashes in 2015, and 70 of those deaths involved drivers under 21 who had been drinking, according to TxDOT.
Events and workshops will take place across Texas during the month of April, with the national PowerTalk 21 event taking place in Dallas on April 21st at Dallas City Hall.
PowerTalk 21 is a part of MADD’s Power of Parents program to help parents feel confident to have intentional conversations about these sometimes hard-to–talk-about issues. Parents can download Power of Parents handbooks for parents of middle school and high school students, and sign up for a free 15-minute or 30-minute online workshop in English or Spanish at madd.org/powertalktx. New in 2016, parents can download the Power of Parents Pocket Guide for a quick overview of the Power of Parents handbooks.
About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD changed American culture by introducing the “designated driver” in 1986 and related red ribbon awareness campaign Tie One On For Safety® now in its 30th year. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® is marking its 10th anniversary and reducing drunk driving fatalities by 25 percent since its launch. MADD supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, providing a service every four minutes through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. Power of Parents® and Power of Youth® programs reduce underage drinking. Learn more by visiting madd.org or calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.
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Jeff SalzgeberSherry Matthews Marketing, for MADDPR Consultant(512) firstname.lastname@example.org
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