Driving Impaired: The Right Message for the Right Age

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(COLO) – As Homecoming season approaches, teens may be worried about finding a date or what to wear, but parents often get worried about dangerous choices kids naturally face on a night of group fun, including the decision to drive impaired. While young teens (ages 0-17) are one of the smallest age groups Colorado State Patrol troopers arrested (49) for impaired driving last year; troopers know that motor vehicle crashes are still the leading cause of death for U.S. Teens and parents can play a pivotal role in reducing risky behavior with their young driver.

“As kids get closer to adulthood, many think they have everything figured out, so It may seem pointless to try to talk about anything, including impaired driving,” stated Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “But as your child and their friends get their driver’s licenses and start driving for all types of reasons, parents can and should talk about the impacts of alcohol and drugs on a driver’s judgment, reaction time and coordination.”

Last year one out of every three traffic deaths in Colorado involved impaired driving (CDOT). Families play a critical role in openly discussing the consequences of driving impaired and the options readily available to anyone intoxicated. Relating the conversation to what’s happening at school (e.g., Have you ever seen or heard about someone from your school coming in high?) or telling a story from your own life and the consequences can be an easy way to start a dialogue.

“It’s never too late to start talking to your child about alcohol and drugs,” stated Col. Packard. “Make sure your teen knows they can text or call you for a ride home in an unsafe situation. You may be disappointed that your child or their friends chose to drink or get high, but this is nothing compared to what you’d feel if they never made it home.” 

Troopers continue to take a low-tolerance approach to the top fatal crash factors, including lane violations, impaired driving and speeding while launching a yearlong campaign called “Drive Safe.” This campaign reminds people to reflect on everything they love and value and plan a sober ride when planning to celebrate.


Since our origin in 1935, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) has focused on preserving human life and protecting property within our communities. Our 1,100 members embody the core values of Honor, Duty, and Respect in their daily jobs.  In addition to our expertise in motor vehicle safety on the state’s roadways, the CSP is responsible for the Governor and other dignitaries’ protection, commercial motor vehicle enforcement, hazardous materials, homeland security, communications, investigative services, criminal interdiction, community education, aviation operations, and more.