Teens and Alcohol

Alcohol continues to be the drug of choice for teens across the nation. Additionally, vehicle collisions continue to be the number one cause of death for teens. Alcohol and driving are dangerous individually; putting them together is a recipe for disaster. TREDS is dedicated to educating the public and providing knowledge, tools, and resources to prevent underage drinking and driving. Funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, TREDS partners with the San Diego Police Department to offer a variety of programs, workshops, and resources for you and your teen.

Please choose a tab below to learn more about programs and resources on teens and alcohol:

DUI collisions are 100% preventable. From 2014-2016, there were 4,769 DUI collisions in California involving youth ages 15-20, killing 243 and injuring 4,685; our goal is to reduce and eventually eliminate that number. We believe the best way to achieve this is through prevention and intervention strategies, but we can’t do it alone. With the help of parents, law enforcement, and community partners, we are working to end underage drinking and driving.

Contact us for additional information.


Steer Clear

TREDS offers a free program to encourage sober driving among youth ages 15-20. Steer Clear is a 50-minute interactive class that promotes social responsibility and roadway safety. It is available to schools and organizations in San Diego County. The program is delivered by public health experts and includes a video presentation of a DUI checkpoint conducted by the San Diego Police Department.

Topics addressed in the class:

  • Risks associated with underage drinking and impaired driving
  • Emotional, physical, legal and financial consequences of impaired driving
  • Strategies to manage peer pressure and encourage others to practice safe habits
  • Impaired driving laws in California

Potential benefits to schools, organizations, and the community:

  • Demonstrate concern for student health and safety
  • Reinforce school policies and state and federal laws
  • Safer drivers on the road
  • Improve safety for all California roadway users

Contact us for additional information or to request training.

Click on the flyer to learn more:

Decide to Drive Sober


Blood Alcohol Content and Driving



Conversations with Teens about Sober Driving

This program will provide parents with information, tools, and resources to prevent underage drinking and driving. It can be tailored to the needs of the organization to run for 90-120 minutes.

Topics addressed in the program:

  • The importance of meaningful and intentional conversations about alcohol, especially consuming alcohol and operating a motor vehicle
  • The process of setting clear, consistent, and collaborative expectations and consequences that reflect the family’s values about alcohol use
  • How to support teens based on generational norms, brain development, and sociocultural values
  • Social Host Ordinances and how parents and guardians can protect themselves from the consequences of these laws

Understanding Social Host Ordinances

This presentation will provide attendees with information, tools, and resources to prevent Social Host Ordinance violations. It can be tailored to the needs of the organization to run for 30-60 minutes.

Topics addressed in the program:

  • Facts about Social Host Ordinances and who they impact
  • Consequences of violating Social Host Ordinances
  • Dangers associated with underage drinking
  • Conversations with teens about alcohol use

TREDS Tools:

Parent-Teen Sober Driving Contract

Download this sample contract to use as a foundation for developing your own contract with your teen. Contracting has been shown to be an effective tool that can enhance the parent-teen relationship and decrease risky behaviors when both parties engage in the contract development process and mutually agree to the terms.

Meaningful Conversation Starters

This valuable resource can shift the dialogue with your teen from lecture and accusation to conversation. Asking open-ended questions that demonstrate active listening and empathy can open a dialogue and allow each party to better understand the other’s point of view.


Understanding Social Host Ordinances


A review of the literature with summaries of teen driver safety and impaired driving research conducted nationally can be found at the following websites:
2015 State of Drunk Driving Fatalities in America
2018 Alcohol-Impaired Driving
2019 Traffic Safety Culture Index

This peer-reviewed research article demonstrates the power of parental influence on teen decisions about alcohol and driving behaviors:

Adolescent antecedents of high-risk driving behavior into young adulthood substance use and parental influences


The Teen Alcohol Awareness Program (TAAP), a program of the San Diego Police Department (SDPD), is designed to address concerns that arise when new drivers are ready to hit the road. This program answers important questions such as:

  • What are some of the dangers faced by novice drivers?
  • Who is responsible in the event of a collision or violation of the law?
  • How can alcohol and drugs make an already dangerous task even more risky?

The teens and parents will spend time in a classroom environment lead by SDPD Officers. The parent session will then continue as the teens are transported in a police vehicle to a DUI checkpoint. They will have the opportunity to observe the checkpoint operation and witness the process of screening for impairment firsthand, including the arrest of drivers that officers believe to be impaired. The class is available on a first come, first served basis. All classes start at 9:00 pm.

To register, contact Officer Anthony Obregon (aobregon@pd.sandiego.gov).