DD%20article%20top

Everyone knows underage drinking is against the law. Everyone also knows that it’s a real issue.

And it’s complicated. Adults tell teens to be good friends – not to let friends drive drunk or ride with anyone who’s been drinking. But Massachusetts teen Erin Cox was disciplined by her school for trying to drive an intoxicated friend home from a party. Erin had not been drinking.

So, is it okay to be a designated driver? Read these comments from teens below . . .

In my opinion, Erin Cox was unjustly punished for her actions to protect her friend’s safety. The message that other teens get from this situation is that to protect themselves, it is more responsible not to care for friends who have been drinking. Where will a thought process like this lead us? Likely to more teens driving while intoxicated, probably not the result the school had in mind when they punished Erin. —Elizabeth C.

Some believe designated driving enables bad behavior, although personally I think it’s enabling both your friends and innocent passersby on the road to stay safe. Whichever you agree with, I would absolutely advise talking to your friends well before the party about their drinking. Above all, make sure you obey the law: NO alcohol should ever be inside your car, everyone must wear seatbelts, and leave the party on time to meet driving curfew. Violation of any of these could get you as a driver into legal trouble.Whatever you do, don’t be pressured into anything that makes you uncomfortable. —Teresa H.

Choosing to drink and drive or even choosing to drink to dangerous limits not only threatens your life, but others around you. It is so easy to slip into doing what everyone else is doing, but if you take time to think about consequences and the effect it will have on your future, you may ultimately change your mind or a friend’s. If talking to your friends doesn’t work, the only thing you can do is help them make the best decisions they can. Having a designated driver, having a conversation with a parent, or even monitoring how much they drink in a given night can potentially save someone’s life. —Lauren P.

Surround yourself with people who will not take advantage of you. We all make bad decisions sometimes, but if your girlfriends continue to misuse your commitment to smart and safe decisions, you might want to find a cooler party with some cooler people. Rest assured, the kind of person who surrounds herself with good friends is also the kind of person who has the courage to promote safety in an unsafe environment. Your courage to stay sober and demand respect might inspire someone else to do the same. —Suzanna M.

Teenage drinking is part of the American high schooler stereotype. The question is, if you are a designated driver does that make you a responsible person or does it make you an accessory to irresponsible behavior? THE ANSWER IS: IT MAKES YOU A RESPONSIBLE PERSON. There is no argument that if you are in a situation where you know that either you or a friend will be drinking, you should have a designated driver. It would be much worse if you found yourself in a situation where a designated driver was needed but there was none. — Eliza O.