Teen drunk driving is a tragically common problem that can impact any home. The CDC reports that 1.8% of all 26+ million licensed Californian drivers admit to driving after drinking too much. Many of these people are teens still in high school with their full lives ahead of them. Helping your teen understand the true financial cost of this behavior may emphasize its inherent dangers.

The Real Costs of Drinking and Driving Your Teen Needs to Understand

Billions in Traffic Accident Costs

Every year, traffic accidents cost the American public $51.1 billion in monetary costs. These include things like vehicle repairs, legal costs, lawyer fees, lost wages, and much more. All of this money simply disappears every year. While your teen might not suffer billions in losses, they may cause your family thousands of dollars in legal fees and other heavy expenses. These costs can also cause lost work hours, as repair experts fix roads damaged by frequent and problematic accidents.

Thousands in Legal Fees Per Person

Does your teen know that they’re going to cost themselves and your family thousands of dollars in legal fees if they get caught drunk driving? Most mandatory drunk driving education programs cost upwards of $2,500 or more. They may also temporarily lose their license, causing them financial struggles, and have to pay $250 or more for getting their license back. They may even pay hundreds of dollars on mandatory ignition interlock devices. These devices cost several hundreds of dollars to install and cost $80 to $100 every month that a teen is on probation.

Heavy Increases in Insurance Bills

Your teen probably already complains about expensive car insurance bills, even if you mostly pay for them. But are they ready to pay an extra $5,000 to $10,000 for the five years after their accident? Are you ready to pay that much? If not, it is important to talk to them about drunk driving to ensure that they understand this risk and to keep your home safe from this serious cost. It may also help you understand the importance of keeping your teen free from drunk driving behaviors.

DUI Convictions

Even if your teen doesn’t cause an accident when caught drunk driving, they may pay over $10,000 for their first DUI conviction. That’s right: $10,000 just for their first time. While these expenses will vary based on each state, many have even stricter payments. This fact is something that can really show the financial impact that drunk driving has on everyone. It can also help a more selfish teen better understand the impact it may have on them.

Serious Environmental Damage

After a car accident, only about 80% of the vehicle can be recycled and saved. The other 20% is called “auto shredder residue” and is simply wasted. This kind of environmental problem causes heavy financial burdens by wasting metal, money, and minimizing recycling efficiency. Emphasize this point with teens concerned about the environment to help it sink in further. Talk about how this monetary and material loss could affect global warming and other common issues.

Medical Bills and Death

Lastly, it is important to emphasize that the American economy loses $62.3 billion every year in life losses due to drunk driving. Drive home this point to your teen multiple times to help them fully understand it. That’s not only a significant chunk of the economy but a dreadful loss of life. There’s no reason that this kind of life loss should be tolerated when it can so easily be avoided.

There’s no reason that your teen can’t enjoy the quirks of growing up and have a fun and enjoyable young adulthood. However, there’s also no reason that they should be drinking and driving. Talk to them about these financial factors and the serious risks of death and injury. Many teens will quickly see the picture and do what they can to avoid these problems.