“One out of 10 children ages 12 and 13 uses alcohol at least once a month. In a single year, 522 children under age 14 were arrested for driving while intoxicated, (113 of them were under 10 years old). 70 percent of all teenagers drink alcohol. 60 percent of all teen deaths in car accidents are alcohol-related.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 17,000 people were killed in alcohol-related traffic accidents in the United States last year, a rate of one person every 30 minutes. Even more alarmingly, almost 1/3 of the 15- to 20-year-old drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. had been drinking.
Statistics show that approximately 70% of all teenagers drink alcohol, including 1 out of 10 children between the ages of 12 and 13.
Safeguards against Underage Drunk Driving:
Parents and older siblings must be aware that they are role models to younger family members, and should be cognizant of what kind of examples they set in regard to both their driving and drinking habits.
Restricting access to liquor and automobiles at home may be an effective preventative measure in the short term, but it is even more advisable to confront your son(s) and/or daughter(s) about the serious risks involved with underage drinking.
Whether driving or riding as a passenger in a vehicle, always wear a seatbelt!
If you see vehicles that are speeding excessively or swerving, try to get a license plate number and call your Sheriff’s Office, the local or state police.
If a person has too much to drink and insists on getting behind the wheel, do not get into the vehicle.
If you are going to an event where alcohol will be served, take public transportation like buses or taxis, if possible.
Regardless of your age, if you believe you may have a drinking problem, consult a school counselor, health professional, or an alcohol support group (for example, Alcoholics Anonymous).
In reaction to teenage drunk driving statistics, states have enacted harsher penalties to punish teens that drink and drive. Most states have adopted zero tolerance laws which make it a crime for a teenager to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of any amount of alcohol. In addition to harsh penalties for teenage drunk driving, it is also a crime in most states for a minor to drink, possess, transport, buy or even try to buy alcohol. Parents can be penalized for furnishing alcohol to minors, especially in cases where teenage drunk driving was involved.
Teenage drunk drivers also face some serious legal consequences that will harm them into their adult lives. They face revocation of their driving privileges, stiff fines, probation, alcohol education and treatment, and community service not to mention potential jail/prison time for a severe offense.
If you have been involved in a teenage drunk driving incident, you may wish to speak to a qualified attorney who can advise you of your legal rights and options in a case. Because the laws vary by state and circumstance, a knowledgeable attorney can best help protect your interests in a teenage drunk driving case.