Dear Editor,
It’s come to my attention that for local teens (and probably some adults) the definition of “designated driver” is one who merely imbibes/smokes less than the rest of the group on a particular evening. I urge all parents to discuss this deadly misunderstanding with their children.
Since we cannot lock our children into closets at age 14 and thus be certain of what they’re up to at all times, we need to insist on some modicum of responsible behavior when they’re out amongst themselves.
The line in the sand for the designated driver is zero intake. Period.
Teens — this is not a game. This is your life and the lives of friends you care about. If you have been drinking alcohol or smoking pot, even a small amount, do not drive home.
Don’t claim you don’t know what you’re doing. If you can walk, you can think straight enough to call your parents. The worst that can happen is that you will be grounded for a few months. Big deal.
Some parents may even congratulate you for your honesty and better-late-than-never responsible behavior.
If you choose instead to get in a car with a drunk driver, or drive drunk yourself, the worst that can happen is that a close friend is injured or killed and you live to attend the funeral. (Before you spend several years in jail). It happens. Trust me.
Show your respect and love for your friends by not drinking or smoking when it’s your turn to be the designated driver. Set a standard for the rest so they will be sober for you when it’s their turn.
Most adults expect teens to act stupid when they’re out in packs, but for your sake and the rest of your community, don’t ignore your responsibilities as the designated driver.
Tom Clyatt
Mount Shasta