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Underage DUIs: Zero Tolerance for Drinking and Driving

There’s a good reason why all 50 states have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to underage drinking and driving. Here are the consequences of a DUI.

It’s exactly what the title says, fam: ZERO MEANS NONE! Not a single drop, ya hear?

It’s just like Ace says in the video: Not even one drop of alcohol should be detected in your blood. It’s just not worth it.

There’s a good reason why all 50 states have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to underage drinking and driving. According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) nearly ONE THIRD of ALL deaths of 15-20 year olds are from motor vehicle crashes, and ONE THIRD of those deaths are alcohol-related. Not good.

The alcohol rate in young drivers is TWICE that of over-21 drivers. Even just a beer will put you and your passengers and everyone else out there on the road with you at a greater risk of being in a fatal crash.

And even if you don’t die, or cause others death or injury, a DUI is a “per se offense” in legal terms. That means the police don’t have to prove you’re intoxicated as long as you’re above the limit. Which for YOU under-21-year-olds means a BAC of 0.01 or 0.02, depending on which state you live or are driving in.

Apart from the immediate costs (including public shame for you and your family), a DUI offense can reach far into your future.

from “Innocent to Incarcerated” 2011 campaign from “Innocent to Incarcerated” 2011 campaign

Take a look at Isaac’s senior portrait -- he’s in the light blue shirt. Just a nice-looking, intelligent kid, right? Doesn’t look at all the same just a few hours later in his jail mugshot, does he?

And what about your future if you’re facing an underage DUI? Scary prospect! An early drunk driving conviction will appear on any background checks for employment (kiss that summer job as a camp counselor goodbye) and your parents’ insurance rates will be astronomical until you turn 25 at least. A DUI can stay on your driving record for a good ten years, too. You’ll be ancient by then -- in your mid-20’s at least!

Don’t even think about this NOT happening to you if you drink and drive. You might know someone right now at your school who’s got a DUI already.

And don't be foolish: Your local police officers have known for years and years exactly where teens like to go to party in the woods or the fields, or try to buy alcohol. They just know these things. There are no safe places to hide. And they can tell from a football field away if you’re driving under the influence. (Author's note: My brother is retired CHP - CA Highway Patrol - he knew every drinking spot in his county!)

For you parents and older siblings who think it’s okay to buy alcohol to “drink safely at home,” your teen’s friends have to get home from your illegal house party at some point. What’s it going to feel like to get a call from one of those parents when their child has been involved in a drunk driving accident after they’ve been drinking at YOUR house? Sadly, it happens all the time.

One last note: Zero Tolerance Laws also make it illegal to drive with any measurable amount of specified drugs in the body. It’s simple: if it’s illegal to possess, then it’s illegal to drive after you’ve used it. But that’s a whole ‘nother blog, fam.