December is a deadly month for drivers of any age. Since the 1980s, December has been recognized as a time to encourage personal responsibility and safe, sober driving — especially around Christmas and New Year’s Eve, which are among the deadliest driving days of the year. In 2023, both President Biden and subsequently Governor Cooper, declared December as Impaired Driving Awareness Month.
To be able to provide families with information about the dangers of underage drinking and driving both during December and all year long, Talk it Out NC analyzed data from the recently released North Carolina Department of Transportation’s 2022 Traffic Crash Facts report. The data showed sobering statistics state-wide:
- In 2022, 1,022 alcohol-related crashes in North Carolina involved teens.
- Sixteen teens were killed due to alcohol-related driving accidents in 2022 across NC.
- Teens suffered 484 alcohol-related injuries on North Carolina roads in 2022.
To prevent more deaths and injuries from alcohol-related teen driving incidents, Talk it Out NC Ambassadors spoke with North Carolina media outlets about how parents and other adults can help teens prevent these tragic accidents by avoiding underage drinking.
Keeping the Roads Safe With WTVD Raleigh-Durham
Talk it Out NC shared data from NCDOT that found the local impact of underage drinking and driving in the counties around the Triangle, where WTVD broadcasts. There were 30 deadly teen alcohol-related crashes in that area between 2018 and 2022.
On December 12, Talk it Out NC Ambassador Dr. Wanda Boone sat down with WTVD’s John Clark and Barbara Gibbs. She spoke about the dangers of underage drinking and driving, and the real implications teens and parents can face. “Parents need to understand how to talk to their children and begin that talking now,” said Dr. Boone.
Parents and mentors can find resources to start the conversation and continue the conversation about underage drinking at TalkitOutNC.org. Sharing the facts and having open, honest conversations is one of the best prevention techniques.
Encouraging Families To Be Healthy With Spectrum News Statewide
Between 2018 and 2022, more than 5,000 accidents across the state involved teens and alcohol. This sobering stat opened a moving recent segment on Spectrum News 1, which aired on December 26, 2023 in the Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte, and Greensboro areas. Talk it Out NC Program Coordinator Rodney Poole shared his story of long-term continuous recovery and his dedication to working with teens to prevent underage drinking.
“I’ve done the research, and I can tell you from experience. Four out of five of the people that I used to drink with have all passed away. Four out of five of them. So, I think that sends a very strong message from a personal standpoint that young people are able to identify with,” Poole said during his interview.
Poole encourages parents to get the facts and talk to their teens about the dangers of underage drinking to help prevent deadly alcohol-involved crashes, substance misuse disorders, and more.
Talk it Out NC Joins National Push to Stop Impaired Driving
Talk it Out NC’s announcement about Impaired Driving Prevention Month was shared on the Associated Press website for outlets around the nation to share with their audiences. In the press release, Talk it Out NC shared tips for families and teens to enjoy the holidays safely, including:
- Avoid Drinking and Driving No Matter Your Age: It’s important to always plan festivities with safety in mind. Always appoint a designated driver ahead of any celebration or use ride-sharing services instead of drinking and driving.
- Talk it Out with the Young People in Your Life: Open dialogues are some of the best ways to prevent underage drinking. The extra time around the holidays is a perfect time to Talk it Out.
- Use the Text “X” Plan: Teens who find themselves in risky situations can text “X” to their parents for an immediate pickup with no questions asked.
Talk it Out NC is committed to making a difference by providing tools and resources that help parents, coaches, educators, faith leaders, and the rest of our North Carolina parenting community discuss underage drinking with the young people they want to support. Learn more about the Talk it Out NC team.