Alcohol – The Bottom Line is don’t drink and get behind the wheel.
The National Road Safety Foundation – cites driving under the influence or “DUI” — is the nation’s most frequently committed violent crime. Remember those words – Violent. Crime.
Most people don’t consider it a crime to drink and drive. Or take drugs, even prescription drugs, and drive. Increasingly legislators are elevating the penalties for driving under the influence crimes.
All states* define driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08 percent as a crime, but specific laws and penalties vary substantially from state to state. (* – as of January 1, 2019, Utah law considers a 0.05 BAC behind the wheel as legally intoxicated for Driving Under the Influence charges.)
42 states, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands have administrative license suspension (ALS) on the first offense. ALS allows law enforcement to confiscate a driver’s license for a period of time if he fails a chemical test. Most of these states allow limited driving privileges (such as to/from work).
Follow this link to learn about the specifics in your state. http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/impaired_laws.html (opens in new window)
In the State of Delaware, for example, for persons under the legal drinking age of 21, consumption and possession of alcohol is illegal in almost every instance.
From the Delaware Drivers Handbook (July 2016, page 52)
Anyone under the age of 21 years who has alcoholic liquor in his/her possession or consumes alcoholic liquor, may have his/her Delaware driver license revoked for a period of 30 days for the first offense and not less than 90 days nor more than 180 days for each subsequent offense.
Delaware has a Zero Tolerance Law for underage alcohol use by drivers of any motorized vehicle –
If you are under 21 years of age, as little as one drink can make it illegal for you to drive. The law says that anyone under the age of 21 years, who drives, operates or has actual physical control of a vehicle, an off-highway vehicle, or a moped while consuming or after having consumed alcohol, shall have their driver’s license revoked for a period of 2 months for the first offense and not less than 6 months or more than 12 months for each subsequent offense. If the under-age person does not have a driver’s license, the person shall be fined $200.00 for the first offense and not less than $400.00 nor more than $1,000.00 for each subsequent offense.
The complete statute may be found In TITLE 21 of the Delaware Code:
CHAPTER 41. Rules of the Road
Subchapter IX. Reckless Driving; Driving While Intoxicated
§ 4177L. Driving by persons under the age of 21 after consumption of alcohol;
Be Safe. Be Smart. Make the right choice.
THE ZERO TOLERANCE LAW JUST ONE DRINK IS .02 MANY!
The Zero Tolerance Law states, “…anyone under the age of 21 years, who drives, operates or has actual physical control of a vehicle, an off-highway vehicle, or a moped while consuming or after having consumed alcoholic liquor, shall have his/her driver license and/or privileges revoked for a period of two months for the first offense and not less than six months nor more than 12 months for each subsequent offense. If the underage person does not have a driver license and/or privileges, the person shall be fined $200 for the first offense and not less than $400 nor more than $1000 for each subsequent offense.”
- YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE DRUNK TO LOSE YOUR LICENSE IN DELAWARE!
- IF YOU ARE UNDER 21 AS LITTLE AS ONE DRINK CAN MAKE IT ILLEGAL FOR YOU TO DRIVE.
- Two-month revocation of license if driver is licensed – Additional $200 fine if driver is unlicensed
SECOND AND SUBSEQUENT OFFENSES
- Second Offense – Six month revocation of license if driver is licensed.
- Third or Subsequent Offenses – 12 month revocation of license if driver is licensed.
- Minimum $400 fine and maximum $1,000 fine if driver is unlicensed.
Fee – $200
When Teens Drive Drunk
This teen driver, convicted of drunk driving, faced up to the damage he caused as a result of his destructive decision making.
CREDIT: NHTSA/Fine Brothers Entertainment, Teen React to Drunk Driving
Desaleen, who at the time was 18 years old, went “clubbing” with girl friends in Maryland, and had no problem getting alcohol after “tipping” the doorman not to card her. She recorded much of the evening on her phone, including the fatal drunk driving crash from which she was the only survivor.
CREDIT: WUSA-TV, Teen Records Fatal Drunk Driving Crash As It Happens
Teen Drinking and Driving – By the Numbers
The Centers for Disease Control reports that the percentage of teens in high school who drink and drive has decreased by more than half since 1991*, but more can be done. *High school students aged 16 years and older who, when surveyed, said they had driven a vehicle one or more times during the past 30 days when they had been drinking alcohol.
Teen drivers are 3 times more likely than more experienced drivers to be in a fatal crash. Drinking any alcohol greatly increases this risk for teens.
Research has shown that factors that help to keep teens safe include parental involvement, minimum legal drinking age/zero tolerance laws, and graduated driver licensing systems. These proven steps can protect the lives of more young drivers and everyone who shares the road with them.
Fewer teens are drinking and driving, but this risky behavior is still a major threat.
Drinking and driving among teens in high school has gone down by 54% since 1991. Still, high school teens drive after drinking about 2.4 million times a month.
85% of teens in high school who report drinking and driving in the past month also say they binge drank. In the survey, binge drinking was defined as having 5 or more alcoholic drinks within a couple of hours.
Percentage of teens in high school, aged 16 years or older, who reported drinking and driving, by state.
CREDIT: US CDC, Youth Risk Behavior Surveys, 41 states
Which brings us back to the Bottom Line:
- Don’t drink and get behind the wheel.
- And don’t get in a car with a driver who has been drinking.