Monday, May 14, 2012

TEENAGE DRINKING AND DRIVING TAKES A DIP IN NZ

It is great to see that teenage drinking and driving has halved in the last few years. Perhaps the message is finally getting through to where it really counts. These are the citizens who will make the difference in the future. Doesn’t it follow that if they continue with this more positive behaviour that they will be more responsible drivers than their parents? Does it mean that their kids in the future will follow this positive role modelling?
We often give our teens a hard time, but this is an occasion to celebrate and then build on the trend and try to extend it into other aspect of our childrens’ lives. What has made the difference? Have the education programmes finally delivered? If that is so and the figures are not a blip, then there are other areas in the lives of teenagers that need addressing. Drug and other substance abuse play an important part in their lives too. How do we get through on those issues?
As parents, they put us to shame--- what sort of role models are we as adults? I don’t think the figures have halved for us. Many of us continue to exhibit the behaviours we learnt as young people, where drinking and driving was an accepted’ part of our social milieu. We should look in the mirror and cringe when we think about what we used to do!
Now is the time to build on this success and to look for other ways to reduce the figures further. If we can do this for drinking and driving, we should be able to achieve the same for youth crime and youth suicide. We need to identify the factors that have helped achieve this very good news.
One last thought---- did they stop drinking because they decided it is ‘uncool to be like their parents?’