Parents: Talk to Your HS Grad About Celebrating Safely

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(COLO) – Graduation is a major milestone, yet some teenagers will throw their future away by getting behind the wheel impaired after celebrating. While young teens (ages 0-17) are one of the smallest age groups, Colorado State Patrol troopers arrested (41) 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.

“With a diploma in hand, some parents may think it is pointless to talk to their child about being safe, including impaired driving,” stated Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “But as your child and their friends celebrate and enjoy their last summer before their next big step, 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). Parents play a critical role in two ways. First, model what you would want your teen to do if impaired. Do you drink a few beers and then drive? Do you have a designated driver or take a rideshare?

Second, parents can make a significant impact by 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 getting pulled over when high?) or telling a story from your own life and the consequences can be an easy way to start a dialogue.


high school graduate

“There is no age limit to talking about alcohol and drugs with your loved ones,” stated Col. Packard. “Let your teen know 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.