We all know that drinking and driving is a hazardous combination. Penalties for drinking and driving are strict. Young drivers, especially, lose their driving skills more quickly. And each year at Prom time, the county gears up its multi-faceted effort to keep kids safe and sober. Now students can even learn the perils of driving while under the influence through the experience of using the county's new computer-based driving simulator.

The Victim Impact Panel is an awareness program for offenders convicted of a misdemeanor for driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Every year in the fall, the monthly meetings are set for the next year's Victim Impact Panel program.

The Social Host Law, enacted by the county Board of Legislators, provides penalties (fines and even jail time) to adults who host drinking parties for their underage children. This law holds parents and other adults accountable for underage drinking that goes on in their home.

Traffic safety programs
Parents and teachers, should check out the county driving simulators and county traffic safety programs, particularly the "Save Your Face, Click It or Ticket" program designed to educate teens to use seat belts. In fact, police are cracking down on texting while driving. Besides being a dangerous activity to perform while driving, it's againt the law. New studies show that drivers overestimate their ability to multitask behind the wheel.

Try your hand at the "Gauging Your Distraction" game as featured in a series of articles, Driven to Distraction, in the Technology Section of the New York Times Web site. This game measures how your reaction time is affected by external distractions. Regardless of your results, bottom line is that you should not text when driving.

Family Day
Family Day is celebrated on the fourth Monday of Sept. each year. This program encourages parents to take the time to eat dinner with their children. Parents need to understand that parental engagement fostered during frequent family dinners is an effective tool to help keep America’s kids substance free.