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Recent statistics from MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) point out that about two-thirds of child passengers who die in car crashes involving alcohol are in the car with the drunk driver.
Yes some children who are killed by drunken drivers fit the stereotype scenario — they were riding in a family car or playing in the street when a lone drunk driver smashed into them. But of the 1985 children passengers under 14 killed by drunk drivers 1349 were in the vehicle with the drunk driver according to the MADD report, “Every Child Deserves a Designated Driver.”
The drunk driver is often the child’s parent and MADD argues that driving under the influence of alcohol when a child is in the car is an egregious form of child abuse. Further if a parent drinks and drives with his or her child in the car this should be a basis for revisiting custody agreements and visitation rights.
When an ex-spouse comes to pick up the child and is obviously impaired the other parent has a dilemma according to the president of MADD. The parent is court-ordered to hand the child to the other parent but there is a risk the child could be injured or killed.
To me this is a no-brainer: if your ex arrives in the car drunk and you hand over your child as far as I am concerned you are an accessory to the abuse. I am not a lawyer but I know this is a time to protect your child first and worry about any legal consequences later.
Another worry I have is about car pools and another parent driving your child home after a playdate. Parents should really know something about the character and drinking habits of everybody who drives their kids around.
It’s your duty to never drive your child anywhere after drinking, not even around the corner to the market. Every child AND every parent deserves a designated driver. Think of how your loss would affect your child and never get behind the wheel unless you are cold sober.
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