The meanest mother in Wyoming just may save her son's life.
A mom who caught her 16-year-old son drunk driving is now selling her son's car as punishment. In a classified ad for the car in her local newspaper, she calls herself the "meanest mother in Wyoming."
Short, clipped sentences in the classified ad for the 1993 Ford Ranger hint at the unnamed mom's distress. "VERY angry mother," the ad in the Northern Wyoming News reads. "Son forgot to use his brain and got caught drunk driving."
She's asking $3,500 or best offer for the vehicle, and asks interested parties to call the "meanest mother in Wyoming." AOL Autos reached out to her at the number listed seeking comment, but her mailbox is full.
The mom has substantial reason to be worried. Although it's on the decline, underage drinking is still lethal to approximately 5,000 people each year, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
"So it's understandable that a mother would be upset with her child for drinking underage and then choosing to get behind the wheel," MADD national president Jan Withers said.
Since 2006, there has been a 27 percent decrease in U.S. drunk-driving fatalities. The number of deaths caused by drunk drivers fell to 9,878 in 2011, the first time the number has fallen below 10,000 since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began keeping data in 1982.
That marked a 2.5 percent decline from 2010, which outpaced the overall 1.9 percent drop in traffic fatalities. That's reason for optimism, says MADD. But there's also concern. If anything, a recent study shows mixed progress in efforts to curb underage drinking.
Fewer than 30 percent of eighth graders report drinking in a report released last month by Monitoring The Future, which conducts extensive surveys of teens related to drug and alcohol use. It was the lowest number since the survey began in 1991.
On the other hand, drinking was on the rise among high school seniors. Fifty-four percent of 12th graders report being drunk in the past month, and 25 percent say they have engaged in binge drinking within the past two weeks.
"Drunk driving is one of the many dangers associated with underage drinking," Withers said. "As parents, we have more influence than we think when it comes to our kids' decisions about alcohol."
As for the Wyoming mother who is selling her son's Ford Ranger, Withers said MADD encourages parents to have frequent, ongoing conversations with their children about alcohol, and to "set clear expectations and consequences ... enforcing those consequences when necessary."