January 03, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Teenage drinking and driving has been steadily decreasing since 1991. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of October 2012, underage DUIs
across the country have dropped more than 50 percent in that time. This is great news, but we still have a way to go before underage drinking isn't the problem it is now. About 1 in 10 teenagers still drink and drive, and 1 out of every 5 teens involved in a fatal accident had been drinking alcohol. Strict zero-tolerance laws exist in every state in an attempt to stop teenage drinking and driving before more people are hurt.
The Century Council reported 175 fatalities in accidents involving drivers under age 21 in Texas in 2011, and 660 underage DUI arrests. State laws for underage drinking and driving are strict. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, minors convicted of drunk driving can face up to a $500 fine, driver's license suspension for 60 days, up to 40 hours of community service and mandatory alcohol-awareness classes. The penalties are even greater for minors with a blood alcohol content over 0.08 percent, and for subsequent offenders.
Penalties and consequences are severe
The severe consequences are intended to discourage teenagers from drinking and driving. When a driver is responsible for an accident that injures or kills someone else, the results can be devastating. The Houston Chronicle reported on a crash last July in Houston, when a 19-year-old driver crashed his vehicle into a bayou. One of his underage passengers was killed and the other was seriously injured. The driver was charged with intoxicated manslaughter and intoxicated assault.
Lawmakers, police and parents want to prevent situations like this from happening in the first place. Nobody wants to see their child arrested or to find out he or she was responsible for hurting someone in a drunk driving accident. MADD offers the following tips for parents to encourage their children to make smart driving choices:
- Set clear rules and boundaries regarding underage drinking and safe driving.
- Keep track of kids and know where they're going with friends.
- Show respect and caring with teenagers, and keep communication open and friendly.
- Be a positive role model with responsible drinking and driving choices.
By setting a good example, parents can make an impression on kids and help set the foundation for safe driving habits.
When to contact an attorney
Even good kids can be influenced by their friends and choose to drink and drive without fully understanding the potential consequences
. Contacting an experienced drunk driving defense attorney after an underage DUI can help teenagers and their parents understand the charges, as well as ensure their side is heard in court.
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