Surviving the drive: The consequences of teen drinking and driving

The statistics are sobering. The Center for Disease Control reports that high school students drive drunk about 2 1/2 million times each month! These same drivers are 17% more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash with alcohol in their system.

This was the heartbreaking case in the Humble area last month. Two Atascocita High School students, Salma Gomez and Chloe Robison, both 16, were tragically killed in a drunk driving crash on July 25.  17-year old driver, Jaggar Smith has been charged with intoxication manslaughter and is now facing prison time.

The Harris County District Attorney's office is cracking down on establishments that disregard state liquor laws or serve alcohol to teens or impaired patrons. A convenience store clerk, Gumaro Munoz "Romeo" Campos, 29, is now charged with selling alcohol to the teen charged in the deadly Atascocita crash.

In a FOX 26 special, "Surviving the Drive," our legal analyst Chris Tritico weighed in on punishment for the driver and the convenience store clerk. Jaggar Smith is only 17 - and if convicted - he could be in prison until he's nearly 60. 

Introduced in the FOX 26 special was the "Shattered Dreams" program--which drives home the reality of drunk driving in dramatic fashion.  "Shattered Dreams" brings smashed cars to high schools and features injured student victims, fire and rescue crews and even a coroner. 

Parents, look for these warning signs in your teens that they could be abusing substances, so that you can help them:

1. Sudden change in friends

More and more kids are using with childhood friends and family members who parents often have a false sense of security with. They are often experimenting with drugs as a rite of passage.

More often than not, a teen's first exposure to drugs or alcohol is from an older peer. If your teen is hanging out with a new and older crowd, pay attention. Talk with your teen about any new social developments, and stay up to date on who they’re spending their leisure time with.

2. Boundary pushing

Asking to stay out later is part of growing up, but a repeated pattern of missing curfew could be a sign your teen is using drugs. Note why your teen starts pushing against set boundaries, particularly if curfew hasn't been a problem in the past. Teens tend to want more privacy as they experience adolescence, but a demand for constant privacy and isolation is also a sign of a deeper issue.  Keep this in mind as you judge between normal teenage behavior and signs your teen might be using drugs or alcohol.