Whenever I hear of the tragic deaths of teenagers and young adults killed in car crashes, my thoughts always go straight to their parents and families.
If the driver was drunk or under the influence of drugs and drove with others in the car, in these crashes there is invariably blame apportioned.
That's understandable. Whoever gets behind the steering wheel of a car and drives impaired, whether from excess alcohol or drug use, must know there will be repercussions if they crash.
Of course, they're not thinking of crashing. The likelihood of being prosecuted if they do doesn't enter their head.
And what about the reaction from the families if their much-loved teenagers die in a car crash? They will be angry, sad and hurting, all at the same time.
The painful loss of their son or daughter must, I'm sure, at times seem unbearable.
Parents know the dangers of the teenage years.
They hope their children will be able to come through unscathed.
I'm sure they stress countless times to their teenagers, "don't drive when you've been drinking and don't get into a car with your mate who wants to drive when he's been drinking too, it's dangerous".
Parents hope the message gets through and teenagers will listen. Be sensible and stay safe is their plea.
But they know too that their teenage son or daughter will want to fit in, be part of the scene, one of the popular crowd.
And that they don't always listen.
They go out and party. They want to have fun. Sometimes they may have a reliable sober driver. Good for them.
But what happens if the sober driver gets sick of watching the fun and decides to join in the drinking with his friends? Says he'll only have a few?
Famous last words.
I have friends who only let their teenagers go out at night to parties or other events if the sober driver is a girl.
In the past, they have had to get out of bed and go to pick their teenagers up, when the sober driver decided halfway through the night to throw in the job.
In these instances, the sober driver let his mates down.
But my friends have always insisted that their teenagers know they must ring home.
They are never to get in a car with a drunk driver, even if only slightly drunk.
They must never chance it. The parents go and collect them. I give big ups to these parents.
The annoyance of being called out in the middle of the night would be nothing compared to a lifetime of heartbreak and sorrow.
They want their son or daughter to live to see another day, to get home safely.
Last week we got to see the devastating impact on the five families in Timaru who lost their teenage sons in a horror car crash.
The driver, 19 at the time, was sentenced to two years and six months in prison.
The victim impacts statements read to the court show the agonising toll the deaths have had on the families.
One father said, "I am living in absolute hell".
Another father: "Life sucks …. I'm going to live a life sentence without my kid because of the stupidity of a drunk driver."
If someone gets behind the wheel of a car and drives after drinking, they could kill themselves.
If others go along for the ride, as in the case of the five Timaru teenagers, they unwittingly took that risk too. Lifelong grieving families are the result.
We must keep talking to our teenagers. Life does not deliver us a Plan B.