The first mistake which many parents make in this area is to assume that they do not need to raise the subject until their own teenagers learn to drive. You do not need to be behind the wheel of a car to understanding the dangers of drunk driving and, like everything else you teach your children, the earlier they learn the more likely the lessons are to stick.
When it comes to the consequences of drunk driving, teenagers need to fully understand just what it means to kill another person on the road and the devastating impact which this can have on their family and friends. But they also need to realize that many people are also injured as a result of drunk driving and they and their families may have to live with the consequences of severe injury for the rest of their lives. This is not always easy for a teenager to understand but it is a lesson which they need to learn.
It is also important for teenagers to fully understand the consequences of being caught behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated. Learn about the drinking and driving laws in your state and clearly spell out the consequences of a drunk driving conviction. Explain how a conviction for driving under the influence can not only have jail time attached, but can also ruin their career prospects and prevent them from getting a good job.
Despite your best efforts, it is still quite possible that your teenager is going to find himself in the position of having had too much to drink when he is out with the car. He will probably feel caught between driving the car home when he knows he is not fit to do so, or calling you and getting yelled at for being so irresponsible. Remember that we all do silly things when we are young and the most important thing is to stay safe, learn our lesson, and live to try again to get it right next time. So, if your child is in this position, he must know that he can call you no matter what condition he is in, any time, day or night.(This rule also applies if he finds himself in a situation where he is expected to ride with a driver who has been drinking)..This is not to say that you are condoning his use of alcohol, or that he should not be held accountable for his irresponsibility. However, your first job is to keep him safe and show him that he made the right , sensible, and mature decision by calling you for help.
Finally, remember that there is no better way to teach your children anything than through your own example. That means making sure that you yourself never drink and drive. If your children see you leaving your car keys at home and taking a taxi to go out to a party, they will follow suit.