Can parents really prevent underage drinking risks?

While many studies indicate that underage drinking has slowly decreased over the years, it is still a concerning issue that families face. Underage drinking not only affects teens’ health but their future as well.

As a parent, you are likely well aware of these concerns. You always look out for your children and their future. But is it possible for parents to play a role in preventing underage drinking – and underage DUIs?

Knowing the penalties can be a deterrent

Tennessee, like many other states, has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking. These policies enforce strict rules surrounding underage drinking. For example, if police find that a teen driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of merely 0.02, they could face DUI charges.

On top of that, the penalties minors face are also severe. They can include:

  • License revocation
  • A $250 fine
  • Required public service work

Additionally, college students can face increased consequences. A DUI charge could result in losing financial aid, losing the student’s place on a sports team, and/or could become part of their academic and educational file.

Being aware of these risks can prevent some students from drinking and driving. However, the risk of getting charged is much greater when there is such a low BAC threshold for charging a minor with underage DUI.

It is critical to obtain an experienced defense attorney to fight these charges if your child is charged with an underage drinking offense. There are also steps that parents can take to protect their children from being charged with underage drinking or DUI.

What can parents do to prevent underage DUIs?

Parents naturally worry about their children, especially when they go off to college. How can parents look out for their children when they are far from home? A 2020 study says it might not be as challenging as some parents think.

study from Yale University found that parents can actually make a considerable difference in preventing underage drinking and driving. According to the study:

  • Teens who drank heavily in 12th grade were six times more likely to drive under the influence two years later
  • However, if teens in 12th grade knew their parents disapproved of them drinking, it decreased their chance of driving under the influence by 30% four years later

Speaking to your children and making your expectations clear may seem simple, but it can have a greater effect than you might expect. If you take the steps to have a discussion with your high school-age children about alcohol use, it could reduce their risk of driving drunk and DUIs significantly.

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