Statewide Initiative Emphasizes How North Carolina Families Can Stay Safe During the Holidays
RALEIGH, N.C. – (December 1, 2023) – The holidays should be a happy time spent with loved ones, but December can be deadly on the roads. That’s why December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. Talk it Out NC, North Carolina’s initiative to prevent underage drinking, is encouraging families this December to discuss the dangers of underage alcohol misuse and the devastating consequences of alcohol-impaired driving. The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s 2022 Traffic Crash Facts report highlights a sobering reality:
- In 2022, 1,022 alcohol-related crashes in North Carolina involved teens.
- 16 teens were killed due to alcohol-related driving accidents last year.
- Teens suffered 484 alcohol-related injuries on North Carolina roads in 2022.
North Carolina has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. A driver under the age of 21 with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of even .01% will face automatic license suspension as well as criminal charges and fines. It’s also illegal for anyone under 21 to buy or consume alcohol.
“We believe in celebrating the holidays with joy, not regret,” said Rodney Poole, Programs Coordinator for Talk it Out NC. “Prevention starts at home with open and honest family conversations. This holiday season, let’s pledge to be present, to communicate, and to enjoy celebrations responsibly. Our mission this December is to remind North Carolinians that with conversations and connections, we can reduce underage drinking and driving and save precious lives.”
During Impaired Driving Prevention Month—and all year long—Talk it Out NC reminds families about the powerful impact conversations can have in keeping teens safe. Talk it Out NC offers the following advice to families to ensure a healthy and happy holiday season:
3 Tips to Celebrate Safely:
- Don’t Drink and Drive: Plan festivities with safety in mind. Appoint a designated driver or use ridesharing services to ensure everyone arrives home safely.
- Talk it Out: Use this time to discuss feelings about underage drinking and its effects with teens. Open dialogues can deter teenage alcohol misuse and promote healthier choices. Families can find helpful conversation starters on the Talk it Out NC website.
- 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.
In addition to these helpful strategies, Talk it Out NC is spreading holiday cheer and promoting positive experiences this season with the Winter Memories Giveaway. Until December 15, participants can enter to win a winter gift basket and a Hawksnest Snow Tubing gift card.
About Impaired Driving Prevention Month
In 1981, President Ronald Reagan designated December as National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, which the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) now observes as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. December was chosen because alcohol-related crashes increase as people travel and celebrate the holidays. The goal of National Impaired Driving Prevention Month is to reduce incidents of drunk, drugged, and impaired driving.
For more information about Talk it Out NC and for facts about underage drinking in North Carolina, visit talkitoutnc.org.
About Talk It Out NC:
The North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission launched the Talk it Out NC campaign in 2014. The goal of the multimedia awareness and engagement campaign is to reduce underage drinking by encouraging conversations between responsible adults and young people. Talk it Out NC offers resources for parents and others who need guidance talking to their children about the dangers of underage drinking. This aligns with the ABC Commission’s mission of working to strengthen the public health, wellness, and safety of communities across North Carolina.
Visit www.TalkitOutNC.org to get the conversation started.