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. (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 also has a Zero Tolerance Law for underage alcohol use by drivers of any motorized vehicle –

From the Delaware Drivers Handbook (July 2016, page 52)

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 alcoholic beverages, shall have his/her driver license 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. In order to reinstate driving privileges the driver must complete an education course as identified by the Delaware Evaluation and Referral Program and pay any associated fees. Once completion of the program has been verified, the driver must pay a DMV license reinstatement fee of $200.00. If the underage person does not have a driver 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.

Young adults think that drinking is a “cool” thing to do, but to be really cool (and Smart) is to be responsible in everything you do, and that means don’t drink. As little as one drink can affect your driving, lessening your inhibitions and playing havoc with your judgment. To make matters worse, many teen drivers don’t have any experience with alcohol and no way of knowing how to deal with it or its effects. When you drink and drive, you pose a danger to yourself, your passengers and to everyone else on the road. If you are caught driving with alcohol in your possession or worse, while under the influence of alcohol OR drugs, you WILL be arrested, your parents will be notified and your license will be revoked. One moment can decide your whole future.

Be Safe. Be Smart. Make the right choice.

CREDIT: TurningPointTraining, Alcohol and the Teenage Brain

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) remind us  –



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.