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Underage drinking is a epidemic among teenagers in the U.S. today. Alcohol is the drug of choice with many teenagers drinking more than smoking cigarettes or using other illegal drugs. In a study released on June 11, 2015 on drug use and health in teenagers, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that 26.4% of teenageres drank alcohol in the last 30 days. Studies show that underage drinking is prevalent, stating that nearly 70 percent of teenagers have consumed more than one drink of alcohol by the end of high school.
Additionally, teenagers use alcohol differently than adults. Instead of responsibly enjoying a few glasses over the course of an evening, many teens binge drink with getting drunk as their objective. Binge drinking is considered drinking more than 5 drinks over a course of 2 hours. The same SAMHSA study found that underage drinking occurs in social settings with teenagers drinking with two or more people. Furthermore, drinking in social settings can lead to teenagers driving while under the influence.
Underage drinking and driving is dangerous and carries disastrous effects. In the U.S., only 10 percent of drivers are under the legal drinking age of 21. However, those drivers represent 17 percent of alcohol-related fatal car accidents.
Additional Underage Drinking and Driving Statistics:
- Approximately 1 in 10 high school teenagers drink and drives, according to the CDC.
- Teenage drivers are also 17 times more likely to lose their life in a car accident when they drive intoxicated. (CDC)
- White, Caucasian U.S. teens are most likely to drink underage at 30.4 percent. (SAMHSA)
- In the state of Florida, teen fatalities for alcohol-related car accidents were 18 percent. The national average is 25 percent.
Dui Citations For Underage Drinking And Driving
Driving under the influence carries legal penalties as well. In Florida, a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .02% for a person under the age of 21 is enough to be cited for a DUI. This can be as little as one alcoholic drink. The penalties for a 1st offense DUI in Florida can be jail time of up to 9 months, fines from $600 to over $2,000 and/or license suspension for up until one year. Additionally, repercussions include having to disclose a DUI conviction on college, financial aid, and future job applications. Failure to disclose this information can lead to additional penalties such as perjury.
Parents are the best defense to discourage underage drinking. Talk to your child about the dangers of underage drinking and also about drinking and driving.
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