Underage drinking is a scary enough concept for parents. But those in Sammamish have to worry about even more than just the drinking; the city is dealing with a now-constant trend of underage drinking and driving. Teens are getting behind the wheel after illegally drinking and have the DUIs to show for it. An alarming 40% of DUIs reported in Sammamish represent drivers under the legal drinking age of 21-years-old.
One Sammamish parent says that a lot of teens in the area have easy access to alcohol, a result of the long hours that many parents in the prominent city work as well as their heftier disposable incomes. Whatever the reason, this is a trend that needs to come to an end. Police Chief Nathan Elledge is trying to work towards just that. Additional law enforcement is out monitoring streets closer, in addition to the development of a task force to combat the problem and the roots of the issue.
In 2011, almost one million high schoolers were guilty of drinking and driving. This number is one million too high. As a parent, there are ways that you can prevent your teen from getting behind the wheel drunk:
• Remind them that they can be charged with a DUI for having a blood-alcohol level of only .02 (.06 lower than the limit for drivers 21 and over).
• Grill into them the repercussions that come from underage drinking and driving (license suspension, tainted driving record).
• Consistently let your child know that you can pick them up if they have no safe way of getting home.
• Set a good example yourself and never drink and drive.
• Do not provide your child with alcohol.