Houston Mayor Annise Parker and MADD Launch the Power of Parents Mayors Challenge


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HOUSTON – Mayor Annise Parker of Houston along with Mothers Against Drunk Driving®  (MADD) today launched Texas’ first-ever Power of Parents® Mayors Challenge aimed at engaging communities in the fight to eliminate underage drinking and its potentially deadly consequences.

“Too many young lives are being lost due to this problem,” said Mayor Parker.  “We must not stand by and allow this completely preventable situation to continue.  I urge my fellow Texas mayors to join me in this challenge and to support parents’ efforts to prevent underage drinking.”

In a 2013 survey of U.S. high school students, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 34.9 percent of students nationally and 36.1 percent of Texas students had drunk alcohol in the past 30 days. Of serious concern are the rates of drinking and driving, and those who had ridden with someone who had been drinking. 

  • Nationally, 10 percent of students have driven when drinking alcohol and 21.9 percent rode with someone who had been drinking. (Source: CDC, 2014.)
  • In Texas, 11.2 percent of students have driven when drinking alcohol and 28.7 percent rode with someone who had been drinking. (Source: CDC, 2014.)
  • In Houston, 10.1 percent of students have driven when drinking and 32.1 percent rode with someone who had been drinking. (Source: CDC, 2014.)

The Power of Parents Mayors Challenge will continue through PowerTalk 21® Day on April 21, 2015. PowerTalk 21 Day is the national day for parents to talk with their children about alcohol. While each city’s mayor will decide how they will make the issue of underage drinking a priority in their community, the goal of the challenge and PowerTalk 21 is to urge parents to talk with their teens about the dangers of drinking early and often before they’re 21 years old.

The Power of Parents Mayors Challenge is being launched at a crucial time because many teens will be attending celebratory events like spring break, proms and graduation parties where they may encounter more opportunities or peer pressure to drink. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), 108 people between the ages of 12 years old and 20 years old were killed in DUI - Alcohol motor vehicle traffic crashes. Nineteen people between the ages of 12 and 20 were killed in Harris and Montgomery counties alone. (Source: TxDOT, 2015.)

Parents who may think it’s too soon to talk to their children about alcohol need to reconsider that position. The fact is that 27 percent of middle school students try alcohol before graduating from 8th grade. (Source: Institute for Social Research, the University of Michigan, 2015.)

“As hard as it is, we know that we have to draw the line with kids and let them know that drinking under the age of 21 is unacceptable. One parent talking to one child could save a life,” said MADD Texas Executive Director Jaime Gutierrez. “But this is not a one-time conversation. Parents need to talk with their children early and often about the dangers of underage drinking to reinforce the message that it is not safe – especially as their children mature and face new pressures to drink.”

A national survey conducted by MADD and Nationwide Insurance in 2014 showed that teens who receive the message from their parents that it is completely unacceptable to drink are more than 80 percent less likely to drink than teens who receive other messages. PowerTalk 21 Day and the Power of Parents Mayors Challenge is intended to help parents realize their power to prevent underage drinking. MADD provides to parents two handbooks to help them lead these conversations; one is geared toward parents of high school students and a new handbook released this spring is for parents of middle school-aged children.

To incentivize more parents to talk with their teens about underage drinking, parents downloading the Power of Parents handbooks from MADD’s website will be entered for a chance to win weekly prizes, culminating with an Apple Watch grand prize to be awarded on April 22, 2015. Additionally, the mayor representing the city with the most downloads of MADD’s Power of Parents handbooks will be nationally recognized for their support.

About Power of Parents® and PowerTalk 21®
Parents remain the number one influence on their teen’s decisions about drinking and the single biggest influence on their teen’s decision to not drink. PowerTalk 21 encourages parents to use the MADD’s Power of Parents handbook to help initiate these conversations with their children. MADD partnered with Dr. Robert Turrisi from Pennsylvania State University and adapted his handbook model to reach parents of high school students. The Power of Parents handbook is the cornerstone of this community-based program and is available free to communities through the website and through local parent workshops.

Nationwide Insurance is the national presenting sponsor for the Power of Parents program. In Texas, PowerTalk 21 is supported by the Texas Department of Transportation Highway Safety Program through the MADD Take the Wheel program.

About Mothers Against Drunk Driving®
Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is celebrating its 35th anniversary by creating a future of NO MORE VICTIMSTM. MADD is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every ten minutes through local MADD victim advocates and at 1-877-MADD-HELP. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® will end drunk driving through increased law enforcement, all offender ignition interlock laws and advanced vehicle technology. PowerTalk 21® is the national day for parents to talk with their teens about alcohol, using Power of Parents®’ proven approach to reduce underage drinking. Learn more by visiting MADD’s new website at madd.org or calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.

About Nationwide
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. The company provides customers a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto insurance, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, pet, life insurance, farm, commercial insurance, annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions, long-term savings plans and specialty health services. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.

Nationwide, the Nationwide frame mark, and On Your Side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.

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