Florida Law – Attorney General Reminds Parents About Children And Safe Driving Over New Year

TALLAHASSEE, FL – LAWFUEL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today issued a
consumer advisory encouraging parents to talk to their teenagers about safe driving practices on New Year’s Eve. The Attorney General noted that during the year 2006, Florida experienced more than 1,300 alcohol-related traffic fatalities and of those, 158 involved children under the age of 21.

Attorney General McCollum emphasized the importance of having parents
engage their children in conversations about the dangers of underage
drinking and driving, particularly on a holiday night with potentially high numbers of intoxicated drivers.

“Young people need to know that they are responsible for their safety
and only by making smart decisions can they protect themselves and
potentially those around them,” said Attorney General McCollum. “With an
increased number of drivers on the road during the holidays, teen drivers
need to be especially cautious behind the wheel and should be strongly
admonished not to drink.”

The Attorney General also noted that parents and adults should never
provide alcohol to underage children, regardless of the situation. In May, Attorney General McCollum helped launch a public awareness campaign
intended to prevent underage drinking. “We Don’t Serve Teens,” developed by the Federal Trade Commission and the Century Council, is an initiative
designed to inform adults that providing underage youth with alcohol is
unsafe, illegal and irresponsible.

“Study after study shows teens are obtaining alcohol from people they
already know and kids are citing their parents as the leading influence
over their decision to drink – or not to drink – alcohol,” said Attorney
General McCollum.

According to a survey conducted by the Century Council, a
not-for-profit organization funded by America’s leading distillers
dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, 96 percent of
adults said it is unacceptable for another parent or other adult to provide
alcohol to their teenager without their permission. Further, all survey
respondents said if they learned another parent or adult had provided
alcohol to their teenager without their permission, they would consider
taking legal recourse against the other parent or their child.

“Underage drinking is illegal and dangerous, and when you add a
vehicle to the equation, it can be deadly. Parents wield more power than
they might think,” said Susan Molinari, chairman of the Century Council.
“Parents have the greatest influence over a teen’s decision to drink – or
not to drink – alcohol. Talk to your teens about the dangers of underage

The Attorney General released the following tips for parents to
encourage safety on New Year’s Eve:

– Make sure your child has a plan for the evening and that you know it,
including where they’ll be staying if they don’t plan to return home.
– Know all of the “hot spot” destinations.
– Communicate with other parents, particularly the ones who may be
hosting any parties your child may attend.
– Take stock of the alcohol in your home and make sure none of it is
unaccounted for.
– Know who is driving and encourage your children to offer to drive if
they have had nothing to drink.
– Encourage seatbelt use—the best accessory!
– Do not rent hotel rooms for New Year’s Eve partiers.
– If your children plan to return home for the evening, stay up and
wait for them.

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