Underage Drunk Driving Rarely Worth the Risk for Students
College students are taught about the dangers of drinking and driving from an early age. Long before stepping foot in a Driver’s Ed classroom or getting behind the wheel for the first time, teenagers likely understand the consequences of dangerous behavior.
Unfortunately, young drivers sometimes make reckless choices. Just ask any drunk driving accident attorney from Livonia, Michigan to Loxahatchee, Florida and they will tell you alcohol remains a top factor in accidents. Drunk drivers injure and kill innocent drivers, passengers and bystanders every day – and in many instances the driver behind the wheel is under the legal drinking age.
There’s no doubt about it: driving under the influence of alcohol can have a number of effects on teen drivers in particular. That’s because when driver inexperience is coupled with alcohol, one or two drinks can lead to critical losses in reaction time and reasoning behind the wheel. When coupled with a higher likelihood of binge drinking among teens – that is, consuming a high number of alcoholic beverages in a short period of time – teen drivers put themselves and all other drivers at immediate risk when they choose to drink alcohol and drive.
What are the consequences for underage drunk drivers?
There’s no occasion in which it’s safe for drivers to get behind the wheel after having too much to drink. The consequences can be even more severe when a high school or college student chooses to do so. Alcohol kills more young people than any other single cause.
According to a 2012 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report, 20 percent of fatal alcohol-related crashes involved drivers aged under 21. One-third of Michigan traffic fatalities involved drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level above .08 – and over half of these drivers had twice the legal amount of alcohol in their bloodstream at the time of their accident.
So, what are the consequences for driving under the influence of alcohol in a state like Michigan? Underage consumption of alcohol in Michigan is illegal, period. The legal blood alcohol content limit for drivers under age 21 is .02 percent – or roughly equivalent to a single drink for a 160-pound male or half of a drink for a 130 pound female. First-time offenders with a measured BAC between .02 and .08 percent are subject to a $250 fine and 15 days of community service. If found to have a BAC above .08 – the legal limit for drivers over age 21 – their arrest is treated as an OUI. In Michigan, underage drivers convicted of OUI face potential imprisonment of up to 90 days, fines ranging from $500 to $1500 and license suspension.
However, it’s imperative for teen drivers to remember that the dangers of drunk driving reach far beyond simply being caught. Drunk driving causes fatal accidents every day. There is no safe blood alcohol content level for drivers above zero. This is especially true among teen drivers. For this reason, teen drivers – and their parents – need to take all necessary precautions to ensure teens obey the law and do their part to prevent fatal accidents. A failure to do so could result in a life-changing accident in a matter of seconds – and legal action from an aggressive car accident lawyer in Michigan who’s ready to hold you accountable for your mistakes.