If your child or teen is a fan of the Houston Texans, Cougars or any professional or college football team, your kids may look up to their favorite football players as heroes to emulate. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be a bad thing because a lot of football players make the dangerous choice to drink and drive.
Football, like other pro sports, is often enjoyed while consuming a lot of alcoholic beverages. The connection between football and drinking is dangerous because it leads to a significantly increased risk of car accidents during football season.
While 31 percent of fatal car accidents that occur each day typically involve drunk drivers, Mothers Against Drunk Driving warns this number goes up to 43 percent on Super Bowl Sunday. Department of Transportation research also revealed a 13 percent higher DUI rate on football game days in at least one state. Football goes hand-in-hand with alcohol consumption, and teens attending games need to know they shouldn't drink and drive even if their favorite players are doing it.
Parents Should Talk to their Kids about Car Accidents and DUIs During Football Season
USA Today reports there are concerns about the major drinking problems among professional sports players. From January of 2007 through 2014, NFL players were arrested for impaired driving a total of 177 times. These arrests are often widely publicized, and children may learn about the arrests of their heroes on the football team.
On average, between 13 and 14 NFL players are arrested each year for driving under the influence of alcohol. Since 1998, three NFL players have also been arrested for causing fatal accidents while driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Hearing about these arrests and serious accidents and seeing football players come back and play again can undermine the message to children that drunk driving is serious. Kids need to know many people have their careers ruined by impaired driving, and that even celebrity football players should not get behind the wheel after they have consumed too much alcohol.
Younger fans tend to be more at risk of drinking to excess while enjoying football, with ABC reporting fans aged 35 and under were eight times as likely as older fans to end up drinking at football games to the point they were impaired. The culture of drinking has serious consequences, and impressionable young people need to be reminded of how high risk it can be to drive drunk.
Talking to teens and young adults about the dangers of impaired driving when they are younger could help to prevent another generation of football fans from growing up thinking drinking and driving are an acceptable part of watching football games.
When children and young adults learn early on about the dangers of impaired driving, and about why they should never get into cars with football fans who have been drinking, they can make smarter and more informed choices as they get older and get their license to drive. For teens who are already operating motor vehicles, parents can also reinforce the lesson that it is never OK to drink so teens don't endanger motorists by making the wrong choice.