Table Talk: Drinking And Driving

This week's Family Dinner Table Talk, from HuffPost and The Family Dinner book:

The CDC puts it pretty plainly: “Driving drunk is never OK.”

It’s a lesson Montana dad Leo McCarthy has tried hard to teach in the years since his daughter, Mariah, was killed by a drunk driver on October 28, 2007. McCarthy’s nonprofit, called Mariah’s Challenge, offers scholarship money to teenagers in the local community who pledge to stay alcohol-free until they are 21.

You might wonder why someone would offer money to people for simply obeying the law -- but the bleak statistics speak for themselves. A third of car crash deaths involve a drunk driver. In 2010, drunk driving killed more than one person every hour, and the CDC estimates that Americans got behind the wheel while drunk 112 million times in the same year. With numbers like these, it’s not surprising McCarthy’s awareness campaign has drawn so much attention and praise.

While the number of drunk driving crashes has dropped overall in the past five years, campaigns like Mariah's Challenge remind us that the problem hasn’t gone away -- and won’t unless people continue to teach others about the importance of staying sober on the road.

Questions for discussion:
  • What are the laws about drinking and driving?
  • What can you do if you are ever in a situation where someone who’s had too much to drink wants to get behind the wheel?
  • Would you participate in Mariah’s Challenge?

In her cookbook, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."

We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie and every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.