newberryobserver.com

Protect children from drunk drivers

September 25, 2013

Children are our greatest resource and our future. That’s why MADD is taking action to help protect the children who are needlessly put in danger every day in this country.


While drunk driving is recognized as a violent crime, driving impaired with child passengers is not commonly acknowledged as a form of child endangerment or child abuse. No one should have to ride with an impaired driver. However, children have little choice when the driver is a parent or an adult caregiver.


If you see an adult who is visibly impaired attempting to drive with a child in the car:


— Calmly suggest alternative transportation, recommend the driver postpone travel or offer to drive the child, if appropriate. Avoid a heated altercation that can put the child in further danger.


— Call 911 at the time of the incident with as much information as possible (such as name of the driver, vehicle description and/or license plate, and destination.) Also be sure to give them your name and contact information for responding officers.


— Document the situation so that your notes can be used later.


— Notify another parent or caregiver of the situation.


— Teach children techniques for keeping themselves safe if they are ever forced to ride with an impaired driver.


— Report your concerns to state or local child protective agencies.


If you are a child and have no choice but to ride in a car with a driver who has been drinking:


— Sit in the back seat.


— Buckle-up tight and use your booster seat, if needed.


— Put all of your belongings on the floor.


— Do not bother the driver and stay quiet.


— Tell a trusted grown-up immediately about any unsafe ride.


Margaret Brackett


MADD of Newberry County