Underage drinking and driving is a problem everywhere! In this post we discuss teenage drinking and driving statistics, the consequences that come from this decision, what you can do to help kids who are thinking of driving under the influence, and leave with a short story about drunk driving from one of our older blogs.
What age and amount is considered underage drinking and driving?
This answer should be a given but anyone under the age of 21 is considered underage. As for the amount, it is any amount of alcohol! Even a drop! If you are underage and get pulled over, you do not get the normal 0.8 amount to be considered driving under the influence. The amount given to minors is 0.00000. If you are a minor be aware that you will be charged with a DUI with even a minimum amount of alcohol in your system.
At the same time, you may not have any amount of alcohol in your vehicle. If you are pulled over and have alcohol in your car, cops can cite you with a MIP. A MIP is a minor in possession. Minors are not allowed to be in the possession of alcohol. Talk with your friends, family, or a young person you mentor and let them know how strict these laws are. It’s not worth the ticket.
It is a real problem
Drinking and driving is a serious issue. Add in the inexperience with driving and the result is a real problem. We pulled some teenage drinking and driving facts from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administrations to tell you just how bad it is:
1. About one in four teen car crashes involves an underage drinking driver.
2. Every day about 800 people are injured in a drunk-driving crash.
3. Every day in America, another 29 people die as a result of drunk-driving crashes. That’s one person every 50 minutes.
You can easily conclude that underage drinking and driving, is no laughing matter. It can be deadly. Make sure to have honest and open conversations with people about this topic, even if it’s hard. As a result, you may save a life.
What to say to young adults
Having an open and honest conversation about underage drinking and driving doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, you should make young adults feel comfortable that you are only telling them for their own safety. Let them know the dangers that can arise and the consequences that can happen from drinking and driving. Not only are they putting themselves/their friends in danger, but also anyone else on the road. They are also risking jail time! On top of jail time, they can lose their license, experience a multitude of fines, and have community service. It just isn’t worth it.
Make sure if a young adult ever does end up in that situation, they know there are other options. Offer a sober ride. Make sure that they have a ride share app on their phone. Talk about the importance of finding any way to not drink and drive! We can’t stress enough it isn’t worth it!
We hope you enjoyed this blog. Now here is a short story from a previous blog about underage drinking and driving
When I moved to Texas in 1979, everyone in the car could have an open container…even the driver. I thought you’d get a citation if you didn’t drink and drive. We’ve totally evolved since those glory days (or, as some of my friends call them, the R.I.P. days). Eventually, the law changed and only passengers could have an open container (or a road sodie, as they were called). This way, the driver could merely hand their beverage over to a passenger before the officer approached the car…brilliant. I’m sure the laws in the state that I moved here from were no better. In fact, most bars never closed. Which also means they didn’t clean up.
You needed a tetanus shot before you’d go into one of those places. And, as far as underage drinking went, the legal age to drink went from 21 down to 18. Then it went up to 19 for a while and kind of hovered there. Then it eventually went back up to 21. Somewhere in between, I recall the drinking age being around 8 (maybe that was south of the border). People from European countries say they don’t have an underage drinking problem because they don’t “glamorize” drinking like we do here in the states. And their laws are strict and swift. So, would lowering the drinking age make it less attractive to teens? MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) says not. When states had lower legal drinking ages in America, the underage drinking problem was worse. Underage drunk drivers were involved in over twice as many fatal accidents.
A few months ago, there was a rumor going around on the interweb…
(that’s what my dad calls it) that the drinking age was going to be raised to 25. It was apparently just a myth. Kind of like celebrity deaths on the internet. That has to be super creepy to the celebrities themselves. 25 years of age is apparently when the frontal lobe completely develops. Better, more rational, adult decision making comes into play after 25 (hopefully). But not everyone matures at the same pace as others.
According to MADD, more than 25,000 lives have been saved in the U.S. because of the 21 minimum legal drinking age. They claim that the law continues to prevent tragedies and therefore decreases crashes by an estimated 16% and keeps young people safer from many other risks as well (such as alcohol poisoning, and aspiration).
Even after 21, it is encouraged to take a cab or Uber if you have consumed any alcohol. In fact, MADD has teamed up with Uber to encourage this. Uber’s revolutionary app connects users with safe, reliable rides at the touch of a button. Those are rides you can count on, whenever and wherever, so that people never have to get behind the wheel drunk.
After all, the easier it is to get a safe ride, the less likely adults are to drive after drinking.
Until next week….
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Underage Drinking – Comedy Defensive Driving