Assessing the risks of underage DUI

Underage drinking is a problem much more prevalent than many people realize. While lawmakers in Pennsylvania have worked hard to intervene and prevent or reduce the risks, there are still plenty of stories about people getting hurt or worse yet, killed because of an incident where one or more of the participants were drunk.

Perhaps one of the most notable risks of underage drinking is the chance that young people continue to drive themselves and their friends despite the fact they are drunk. This reckless behavior can not only endanger the people in the vehicle of the drunk driver, but also any other motorists that are driving around them. According to, nearly 50 percent of all teenagers have tried alcohol at some point. Additionally, nearly 2,000 people under the age of 21 die each year in motor vehicle accidents resulting from drunk driving. Another concerning statistic reveals that in deadly car accidents with a drunk driver under 21 years of age, nearly 45 percent of the fatalities are people other than the driver.

Preventing drunk driving from happening at all is a group effort and requires everyone to be working relentlessly to educate adolescents on the risks of choosing to consume alcohol. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that the use and implementation of innovative prevention measures be optimized to reduce the number of underage drunk drivers. Some of the things that can be done include requiring offenders to use an ignition interlock device, creating sobriety checkpoints, recommending alcohol intervention and treatment programs, and enforcing rules related to license suspension and revocation.