Although times may be changing, the occurrence of teenage drinking and driving has not. As a teen, you may have thought nothing of having a few drinks with your friends and then going for a joy ride, and guess what: your own teenager probably has too and you may face charges because of it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, young people ages 11 to 20 drink 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in the United States. Additionally, in 2010, approximately 189,000 emergency room visits were by people under the age of 21 because of injuries caused by alcohol. These numbers show that teen alcohol use is a present danger and can cause serious harm.
The Causes of Teen Drinking
You may think you know your teenager, but you may not know why she decided to drink and get behind the wheel. Here, we examine a few likely reasons:
- Peer pressure. Perhaps she wants to “fit in” with a certain crowd, or maybe she just wants to do what her friends are doing. Whatever the case may be, she may succumb to peer pressure and abuse alcohol. Peer pressure is difficult to overcome for a majority of teens, and many will engage in risky behavior like alcohol abuse because of this dangerous and influential force.
- Curiosity. Your teen may simply want to know what all the fuss is about, so she drinks to find out. She may hear her friends talk about alcohol, watch people enjoy it on television, or even see you knock back a few, and she may want to experience the beverage herself as a result.
- To have fun. When a teen throws a party, the most popular guest in attendance is typically alcohol. Parties and drinking tend to go hand-in-hand, and many teenagers genuinely enjoy that silly behavior and feeling that occurs when intoxicated.
Even though they know it is wrong, teens drive after drinking often because they are afraid of the trouble they will face if their parents find out they have been drinking. In their minds, it's best to get the car home, sneak into bed, and all's well in the morning. Unfortunately, intoxication on top of inexperience is a deadly combination behind the wheel and teens risk their own lives as well as the lives of anyone else out on the road when they drink and drive.
When Your Teen’s Drinking Lands Her in Trouble
Drinking and driving is a serious offense in Virginia, no matter what your age is. Teens who drive while intoxicated face the same penalties as adults, including fines, jail time, loss of license, and more. Are you prepared to appear before a judge and attempt to help your teen out of this mess? The Easley Law Firm is and has years of experience doing the same thing for other parents and their teens. Contact us today to learn more.