Accidents happen, yet many of these unfortunate events can be avoided. Take for instance accidents because of drunk driving. If only drivers were more aware and more responsible, then public roads would be safer. More importantly, parents won’t have to overly worry about their children getting involved in bad road accidents where they could get terribly injured. But what’s more alarming is that a significant percentage of kids die each year because of inebriated drivers.
Children are the hope of the future, and so it is every person’s responsibility to protect them in whatever way they can. In order for kids to remain safe from drunk drivers, here are some tips to consider.
1. Never drive, especially not with a child, if you are drunk or even if you’ve only had a few drinks. How much is too much? If you’ve been drinking with friends, you won’t really be able to tell how drunk you are without a professional-grade breathalyzer. Even if you say that you only had a small glass of wine or maybe just one bottle of beer, you are not fit to drive and, most especially, not with a minor on board. You’ll only be endangering the child. If caught, not only will you be fined, but you might also be asked to finish a specified number of hours in community service. You might even spend some time in jail. Therefore, do not volunteer as a designated driver when you’re drunk. Get someone else to drive your child to school, and never attempt to carpool.
2. Assign a responsible designated driver. When there are special occasions, such as family gatherings or maybe office parties, where you’re allowed to bring your children, talk to your partner about who will be the designated driver. The one who will be driving the entire family home must not have any alcoholic drinks. You can also consider assigning another reliable individual for this task.
3. Offer alternative modes of transport if you see an impaired person who’s about to drive with a child. Ask the person to consider using the bus, taxi, train or any other transportation for him and the child. You can also tell him that it might be best for the child’s safety if you’ll be the one to drive him home.
If the person still insists to drive the child, report the incident to the authorities as soon as possible. Call 9-1-1 and describe the situation properly. Document the event, and note down the description of the car and the plate number so that you’ll be able to provide accurate details. In addition, make sure that the custodian or parent of the child is informed, especially if the child was being driven by another individual, such as a nanny or an assigned carpool driver.
4. Never allow a minor to drive another minor. Teenagers between the ages of sixteen and eighteen can already apply for their learner’s permit. Still, while it might be okay for them to drive as soon as they meet certain requirements, it is generally against the law for minors to drive other kids who are younger than them. In some states, this is also considered illegal even if there is an adult onboard.
Make sure that youngsters who already have their learner’s permit understand their responsibilities as drivers. As what Tad Nelson & Associates have stated, the charges and penalties for DWI with a child on board vary depending on several factors, including the level of intoxication and the number of past offenses. It is very important that teens understand this. They need to know that they can get seriously injured, and they can also cause grave injuries or even death to others.
5. Teach a child about car safety features. It is important for a child to know how to strap his seatbelt on and how to properly position himself inside a vehicle, especially if his parents aren’t always around to do this for him. Make sure that he also knows the numbers of the people that he can call in case he needs someone to drive him home when he discovers that his carpool driver or parent is drunk.
Claire Taylor is a full-time freelancer who has been writing about legal issues since 2008. She often discusses topics about personal injury and criminal charges.