The role we can play in preventing underage drinking and driving
Nationwide and MADD partner to empower parents and prevent underage drinking
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that car crashes are a leading cause of teen deaths, and one-quarter of fatal crashes involve an underage drunk driver.1 In fact, in 2020, 29% of young drivers 15 to 20 years old who were killed in crashes had blood alcohol content levels of .01% or higher.1
In many cases, these incidents are largely preventable, and parents can play a crucial role in deterring their children from drunk driving. Research shows that simple, intentional conversations with teens can help prevent underage drinking and drunk driving.
To aid in this vital effort, Nationwide has partnered with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to highlight the dangers of drunk driving, providing an array of materials that insurance agents can share with their clients to help empower parents to do their part to keep kids safe on the road.
The Power of Parents program
Teens say their parents are a leading influence in their decision not to drink alcohol underage. MADD and Nationwide saw this as an opportunity to team up on a program called Power of Parents to provide resources (e.g., workshops and handbooks) to help parents start the conversation about the dangers of underage drinking with their teens. A significant component of the Power of Parents program is the Parent Pledge, which encourages parents to have meaningful conversations with their teens, institute parental monitoring practices, and avoid allowing their teens (or other youth) to consume alcohol or use drugs in their homes. The Parent Pledge has five key points:
- Engage with kids through frequent and meaningful conversations.
- Never allow underage alcohol consumption or drug use in the home.
- A secure parent-child relationship with strong and fair boundaries is necessary to set the tone for safety.
- Host safe gatherings, supervise parties in the home, and never provide alcohol to someone under 21, and do not allow or provide drugs.
- Keep alcohol and other drugs secured and inaccessible to youth.
Two helpful resources available to parents are the program’s handbooks, “Talking With Your High Schooler About Alcohol” and “Talking With Your Middle Schooler About Alcohol.”
Each handbook takes parents on a journey of understanding as it relates to the realities of their child’s world. For example, high schoolers are finding their own way, involving peers in their decision-making and focusing on short-term thinking. Middle schoolers are seeking new freedoms, dealing with physical changes, and feeling pressure to fit in and establish an identity free from their parents.
The handbooks then delve into the topic of parenting, helping adult caregivers determine what parenting style they embody. The resources also guide parents in helping their teens or kids make good choices. The tips include dealing with peer pressure, finding alternatives to drinking, choosing friends, steering clear of driving dangers and identifying if a teen has a drinking problem. The handbooks even contain a helpful discussion checklist, with recommendations on talking points.
In addition to the digital handbooks, the Power of Parents website includes a parenting style quiz that aligns with the content in the handbooks; activities and strategies parents can share with their teen that will make it easier to say no to drinking when faced with peer pressure; and a quiz to help parents determine if their child has a drinking problem.
Additional campaigns and resources
As part of its Power of Parents program—and in conjunction with Alcohol Awareness Month—MADD and Nationwide will launch its annual PowerTalk 21 campaign in April. The theme for 2023 is “Lifesaving Conversations Start With YOU,” to empower parents and remind them that their voices matter and their kids are listening.
Further, the PowerTalk 21 campaign will focus on leveraging the reach of like-minded individuals, partners, sponsors and volunteers to open a dialogue around underage drunk driving. As part of the campaign, a Partner Toolkit will be made available, which will include valuable resources academic institutions, influencers, corporate partners and similar stakeholders can use to amplify the primary objective of the Power of Parents program and MADD: eliminate underage drinking. Some helpful collateral contained in the Partner Toolkit includes:
- A digital ad that can be used on a website or in a newsletter
- A MADD PowerTalk21 blog to repost on a website or in a newsletter
- Social media copy, images and headers
- A Power of Parents Program PSA
- Flyers for distribution to employees
Everyone plays a part
Everyone has a huge role to play in preventing underage drinking, and, as insurance agents, you can also take part in this critical effort. The more people who know about the resources available to them, the better chance there is of saving lives. Sharing the Power of Parents resources with your clients can potentially be the difference-maker for their communities. Visit madd.org/power-of-parents to learn more.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “Drunk driving,” Accessed March 13, 2023.