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 Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) San Diego and 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 2012-2014 in San Diego County, 903 youth ages 15-20 were killed or injured in 562 alcohol-related crashes; 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.


TREDS and SAY San Diego offer 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

School partners:

  • Clairemont High School
  • Halstrom Academy
  • Kearny High School
  • La Jolla High School
  • Madison High School
  • Mar Vista High School
  • Serra High School
  • Point Loma High School
  • Urban Corps

Contact us for additional information or to request training.



3C Workshop:  Connection, Communication, Choices.

This course 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 best support teens based on generational norms, brain development, and socio-cultural values
  • Social Host Ordinances and how parents and guardians can protect themselves from the consequences of these laws

SHOW: Social Host Ordinance Workshop

This course 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

Contact us for additional information or to request training.


A review of the literature with summaries of teen driver safety and impaired driving research conducted nationally can be found at the following websites:

2016 Traffic Safety Culture Index
2015 State of Drunk Driving Fatalities in America

This website can explain the research and strong evidence to support parental involvement, open and honest communication, and developing clear expectations and consequences with your teen:

Why You Should Consider a Teen Driving Contract

Peer-reviewed research articles that demonstrate 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 SDPD, is designed to address the questions that arise when new drivers are ready to hit the road. This program answers important issues like: what are some of the dangers faced by novice drivers, who is responsible for their actions in the event of a collision or violation of the law, and how alcohol can make an already dangerous task even more risky. Following a classroom workshop attended by teens and parents, the teens are transported by a police vehicle to a live DUI checkpoint. Here they have an opportunity to observe the checkpoint operation and witness the process of screening for impairment first hand, including the arrest of drivers that officers believe to be impaired. Attendance of the classes is available on a first come, first served basis.


Teen Alcohol Awareness Program (TAAP)

  • Friday, September 8th 9pm – 1:30am

TAAP Programs are held at SDPD Headquarters (1401 Broadway) To register, contact Mark McCullough (mmccullough@pd.sandiego.gov)


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 in enhance the teen-parent 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 in a healthy and productive manner.

Texting Flyer

Sign up to receive text based communication from the TREDS team that will inform you of upcoming community events and current trends related to teens and alcohol. There are links to tools, resources, and articles that will equip you with the knowledge and confidence to engage meaningful conversations with your teen.

Other Resources: