Summer campaign launched by state to fight underage drinking

With the official summer season kicking off, the Connecticut Department of Transportation Office of Highway Safety, along with the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles and other community advocates, is reminding residents about the dangers and penalties for underage drinking with its “Not My Kid” campaign.

The campaign, which includes a series of television and radio commercials, billboard ads, and social media messages – raises awareness with parents about the dangers of underage drinking and impaired driving, which see increased frequency during the summer months.

“Due to teens’ underdeveloped brain functions and inexperience behind the wheel, underage drinking is especially dangerous,” said DOT Commissioner Joseph Giulietti in a press release.  “Teens tend to engage in risky behaviors.  It is important for parents to talk to their teens about underage drinking before it destroys their innocence, hope and dreams.”

The campaign emphasizes the message that “underage drinking destroys” as an effort to reflect the consequences of the tragedies that can follow episodes of drinking as well as drinking and driving. It also invites viewers and listeners to consider the number of harmful effects on the teens as well as families and communities.

Between 2014 and 2018, state crash statistics show that 1,134 driving under the influence-related crashes have occurred involving drivers under 21 years old. These included 29 fatal crashes and 13 fatalities of drivers aged 20 and younger.

“With a break in school and summer providing more free time to teens, the potential for excessive drinking and impaired driving rises with trips to summer concerts, visits to the beach, parties in the woods near homes, house and pool gatherings while parents are away or even asleep,” added Giulietti in the press release.  “Parents must be aware of this serious issue and develop prevention strategies.”

“(W)ith the summer driving season in full swing, this campaign serves as an important reminder to parents – of both drivers and passengers — to take an active role with their teens when it comes to safety behind the wheel,” DMV Deputy Commissioner Tony Guerrera said in the press release.  “Ultimately, everyone can play a role in promoting safe driving.”

For more information, visit .nhtsa.gov/road-safety/teen-driving.