"Young people and their parents should know that the state's driving under the influence laws are even tougher on those under 21," said Steven Bloch, Ph.D., senior researcher at the Auto Club.
"An alcohol-related driving offense will cost teens their license and can easily result in $17,000 in fines, mandatory education expenses, attorney fees and additional insurance costs."
So here are some advices that the Auto Club gives to the teen drivers, their friends and their parents for the prom day, and why not, for every other day :
- About 2,500 underage drivers are involved in alcohol-related death and injury crashes annually so the refrain of "it won't happen to me" doesn't ring true.
- Teens should not get into a car with someone who has been drinking. One-third of all persons killed in teen driving crashes are passengers in the teen driver's car.
- Parents should make sure that California's graduated driver licensing law is followed. The law makes it illegal for teens under age 18 during their first year of driving to carry passengers under age 20 unless a licensed driver age 25 or older is present. No driving is permitted between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. for one year after receiving a license. If the teen driver has a full license, all passengers should be buckled into the vehicle's safety belts.
- Parents should open a dialogue with their teens to discuss the dangers of drinking and driving and offer to be available for a safe ride home.