Underage drinking and driving under the influence of alcohol are both dangerous and illegal. Combined, they pose significant risks to inexperienced drivers.
Before young drivers take the wheel, they should understand the risks involved in drinking and driving.
Teen drivers face greater risks
Driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous for drivers of any age. However, according to the CDC, it is even more dangerous for younger, less experienced drivers. A teenage driver is more likely to have an accident than an experienced driver with the same blood alcohol concentration, even at levels below the legal adult limit of .08%.
Underage drivers may face multiple charges
In Missouri, the maximum legal BAC for people under 21 is .02%. A higher BAC can result in a misdemeanor alcohol possession charge, even if the person does not actually possess a container of alcohol.
If an underage driver gets pulled over with a BAC between .02% and .08%, he or she might only face an alcohol possession charge. However, an underage driver with a BAC that exceeds the legal limit for adults may face charges of alcohol possession and DUI.
DUI leads to license suspension
DUI generally results in a 90-day license suspension for a first offense and a year-long suspension for a second offense. If the driver is under 16, a juvenile court can delay the license suspension order until 30 days before the driver’s 16th birthday.
Driving is a gateway to more independence for young people, but young drivers are at greater risk of accidents. New drivers and their families should understand the potential consequences of abusing driving privileges and breaking the law.