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Crusade To End Teen Drinking Goes To Capitol

January 22, 2013, 4:59 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Crusade To End Teen Drinking Goes To Capitol

A South Dakota mother who lost her 18-year-old son in a drunk driving accident is now taking her cause to the state capitol.

Joyce Glynn's son was killed seven years ago on his way home from a house party.  Now she's behind legislation that would hold adults accountable for hosting parties.

The spring of 2006 was a deadly time for South Dakota teens. Alcohol-related crashes killed more than a dozen kids.  18-year-old Michael Glynn was one of them, and his mother has never let that spring slip from her memory.

"We've lived the life after losing a child to such a senseless preventable reason, and what I'm doing now is just to try to keep it from happening to other parents and other families," Glynn said.

Over the past seven years, Glynn has made it her mission to educate teens and parents about the dangers of drinking and driving. Now she is focusing her efforts on state lawmakers in Pierre.

"But there's not any clear, defined legislation that targets the people who are hosting the parties that kids are drinking at," Glynn said.

Glynn is behind an effort to pass a social host bill through the legislature this year. The goal is to make it illegal for adults to allow kids to drink on their property.

"Maybe they aren't furnishing the alcohol or buying it for them; they're just letting them use their backyard, basement or their pasture.  And currently, as long as they are not buying or furnishing, it's not illegal," Senator Larry Lucas of Mission said.

Glynn says while parents may think it's safer for kids to party on their property and not leave that's not always the case. In the spring of 2006, her son said he would not drive home, but he did and she found out the deadly consequences.

"All it takes is one kid who ends up finding the car keys and leaving. A parent who turns their back for a split second when a kid walks out the door intoxicated, gets in a car, walks across the street, gets hit," Glynn said.

The bill has 35 sponsors and Attorney General Marty Jackley supports the concept.

"What is being proposed is to look at the root of the problem and to be more specific and to also include that knowing requirement," Jackley said.

And seven years after that deadly spring, Glynn is still trying to make a difference because she doesn't want the past to repeat itself.

"I wish I would have done more to protect the life of my son. All I can do now is use the knowledge that I've gained in the past few years to try to protect the lives of others," Glynn said.
 
Glynn's social host bill will have its first hearing in the Senate State Affairs committee Wednesday morning.

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