A new government survey has reported that fewer teens are driving under the influence of alcohol. In 2014, an estimated 7% of teens surveyed stated that they had recently driven while intoxicated in comparison to 16% of teens who were surveyed in previous years. 3% of teens admitted to driving under the influence of marijuana this past year.
The age of the youths surveyed ranged from 16 to 20-years-old. The government survey primarily focused on tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drug use. The Centers for Disease Control issued a detailed report regarding the survey results. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health data was collected from nearly 384,000 teenagers and young adults. The report cites that motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death amongst 16 to 25-year olds. In addition, despite the decrease in driving under the influence of alcohol, more teens are starting to drive under the influence of marijuana at night and on the weekends.
The prevalence of drinking and driving among high school students aged 16-19 years has declined by 54%, from 22.3% in 1991 to 10.3% in 2011 (2). However, the prevalence of weekend nighttime driving under the influence of marijuana (based on biochemical assays) among drivers aged ≥16 years has increased by 48%, from 8.6% in 2007 to 12.6% in 2013-2014.
The CDC was optimistic over the findings and concluded that numerous safety interventions have helped reduce unsafe driving. For example, instituting minimum age drinking laws, prohibiting driving with any alcohol level for teens under 21-years-old, and an increase in nationwide safe driving campaigns have all contributed to the decrease in underage drinking and driving.
Michigan Underage Drinking Laws
In Michigan, the legal drinking age is 21. Consumption of alcohol by anyone under 21 is illegal outside of the following exceptions:
- For religious purposes such as drinking wine during a religious ceremony;
- For government related work in which a person is working on research for law enforcement; or
- For educational purposes such as studying at a culinary school.
If a teenager drives a car with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .02% or higher, he/she will be charged with a DUI. The driver will be fined and sentenced to serve community service. The higher the driver’s BAC, the harsher the penalties.
In addition to being charged with driving under the influence, a teenager may be charged with minor in possession, soliciting alcohol, or moving and vehicle maintenance violations.
If your child has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, contact my law office for a consultation. I can review the charge and provide your child with legal advice and counseling on how to proceed through the court process. Do not delay in obtaining legal representation. Your child’s future is a stake.
Fewer Kids Driving Drunk, CDC Finds
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, Marijuana, and Alcohol and Marijuana Combined Among Persons Aged 16-25 Years – United States, 2002-2014