Underage Drinking and Driving: Make Sure You Know Your Teen’s Driving Habits

When you are preparing your teenage drive for the roads, as a parent, you are responsible for providing your underage drivers with the necessary knowledge and education they’ll need to stay safe on the road. You’ll not only want to make sure your teen blossoms into an excellent driver so that your teen stays safe while driving, but you also want to make sure your teen won’t accidentally harm others by committing avoidable driving mistakes. One of the most important topics for parents to discuss with teen drivers is underage drinking and the laws and consequences attached with underage drinking and driving. While it can be a difficult topic for parents to bring up, discussing underage drinking with your teen can prevent serious life or death situations while driving.

Teen Crashes are Often Preventable

Many driving errors that teens make while on the road are predictable and preventable. For example, teens are often prone to making simplistic errors while driving, usually while speeding, which increases the likelihood they will create an accident. Teen drivers are also twice as likely to crash at night, so it might be wise to restrict your teen driver’s access to his or her vehicle at night to help prevent any potential problems. Also, teens are prone to crashing while driving to and from school, and especially after school, when they tend to have other teenagers in the car with them. You might want to consider restricting your teen’s access to driving friends around in the car because teen passengers increase distractions and tend to increase risk-taking actions.

Underage Drinking

Knowing how to prevent some of the most common types of teen crashes can help you ensure the safety of your teen while he or she is on the road, but there is another issue you’ll still need to worry about, and that’s underage drinking and driving. Teenage drinking is not only illegal, but it’s also been a major cause of teenage death and crime because many teens who drink take their drinking levels into the extreme.

In Minnesota, one-third of all traffic crashes that result in injuries and death among 16 to 19-year-old drivers are caused by drinking and driving. That means that one in three car accidents caused by teenagers could most likely be avoided if the teen wasn’t drinking and driving. In addition, there are stiff consequences applied to teens who break underage drinking and driving laws. If a teenager is charged with a DWI offense, he or she can go to jail for up to a year, be fined $3,000, lose driving privileges, and will also incur high legal costs and insurance rates due to the infraction. Plus, an underage DWI will stay on a teen’s record for at least fifteen years.

If a teenager is found to have a BAC of less than .08 in his or her system when driving but still shows signs of intoxication, then the teen may receive a citation for underage drinking and driving. Those citations can cost up to $700 in fines and may also require a teen to serve up to 90 days in jail. The punished teen could also lose driving privileges for 30 days, and the infraction can stay on the teen’s record for up to fifteen years. If there is a second violation of a similar type, the person could lose driving privileges for 180 days.

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