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Parents urged to wake up, talk to teens about alcohol use

With New Year's Eve approaching, the state's top education official is teaming up with the California Highway Patrol in urging parents to talk to their kids about drinking and driving. KPBS reporter

With New Year's Eve approaching, the state's top education official is teaming up with the California Highway Patrol in urging parents to talk to their kids about drinking and driving. KPBS reporter Beth Ford Roth has the story.

The CHP will have roving DUI patrols and sobriety checkpoints throughout the New Year's holiday weekend. Unfortunately, many of the drunk drivers they cite may be teenagers.

Jack O'Connell is the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. He says parents must talk to their kids about the dangers of alcohol, even if they don't think their children drink.

O'Connell: "A recent study indicated that sixty percent of 15 and 16 year olds have tried drinking, and yet of that same group, only 31 percent of the parents thought that their children had experimented with alcohol, clearly a disconnect, clearly denial."

In 2003, one-in-five children who died in car crashes were in accidents where alcohol was a factor. Last year in San Diego County, 16 young people under the age of 21 were killed in DUI collisions. Beth Ford Roth, KPBS news.