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Underage drunk driving: A parent’s pivotal role in prevention

On Behalf of | Jun 22, 2023 | Drunk Driving |

The pervasive myth among minors is that drinking alcohol is a harmless rite of passage celebrating their transition to adulthood. However, if they’re unwilling to wait before they are of legal age, they could find themselves sinking into a life of crime. In worst cases, they even get behind the wheel, intoxicated.

As a parent, knowing one person dies every 39 minutes due to drunk driving, as per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), must be alarming. A wise decision is to deliberately shepherd your underage child away from criminal conviction with considerable penalties.

Zero-tolerance policy

Across the United States, it’s illegal for minors to purchase, possess and drink alcohol while driving. Under zero tolerance laws, even the slightest hint of alcohol within the 0.00 to 0.02 blood alcohol content (BAC) range subjects anyone under 21 to driving under the influence (DUI) offense.

In Tennessee, although you don’t demonstrate signs of drunkenness but reach a 0.02 BAC, you may still commit a DUI offense. Impaired driving of youth, ages 16 to 20, results in the following penalties:

  • A $250 fine
  • A year-long license revocation
  • A community service imposition

While not as severe as penalties for adults, the possibility of underage drunk drivers suffering from a fatal vehicular crash is twice as high as those over 21, as revealed by an NHTSA report. But with parental supervision, drunk driving is preventable.

Being a role model

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a direct association exists between an adult’s and a minor’s drinking behaviors living in the same household. Some examples of parental policing you can employ to protect your child include:

  • Practice what you preach: Discourage binge or excessive drinking. Dispel the notion it’s the default solution to addressing problems.
  • Help them deal with peer pressure: Most minors are in high school or college, all constantly exposed to parties and gatherings with free-flowing alcohol. Discuss with them how they can refuse drink offers and still manage to socialize.
  • Drinking and driving don’t mix: You can establish a straightforward no-drinking rule in your household with corresponding grounding or other negative repercussions.

Without your pivotal parenting, your child may be at risk of tragic problems down the line, such as abusing other illegal substances and causing another person’s injuries or death due to drunk driving.

A sobering reality

Road safety begins at home. As difficult as it is, preventing your child from drunk driving is a step in the right direction. But if you’re already in the middle of addressing your child’s delinquency, a legal team can work with you to safeguard your child’s future.