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Why Underage Drinking and Driving is a Bigger Problem Than Anyone Realizes

On behalf of Myles S. Breiner – Attorney At Law – A Law Corporation, Inc.

Kids will be kids. But when “kids being kids” get behind the wheel after a night of partying, the old adage goes out the driver’s side window. Drivers under 21 are already considered to be inexperienced – adding alcohol to the situation only increases the likelihood of a dangerous situation, injuries, death, and at the very least, an arrest on a criminal record.

Statistics show that 10 percent of licensed drivers are under the age of 21. This small population is responsible for 17 percent of fatal alcohol-related crashes. How can these numbers be so skewed?

Binge drinking

Underage drinkers have little understanding of personal limits, as well as the full effect alcohol takes on one’s body. The Choose Responsibility organization reports that 90 percent of alcohol consumed by underage drinkers is done so during binge drinking. Those who engage in such behavior typically lose control of their judgment and their motor skills, so the decision to get behind the wheel comes more easily and the operation of the vehicle is far more risky.

Inexperience behind the wheel

Hawaii teens can obtain the first stage in graduated license program at fifteen-and-a-half years old with an instructional permit, allowing them to drive with a licensed adult (someone at least 21 years old) in the passenger’s seat. From there, teens can be granted a provisional license between the ages of 16 and 18 after they have had an instructional permit for 180 days. They may then receive a full driver’s license if they are at least 17 years old and meet other requirements. While this gives a young driver some time behind the wheel, this time is often not enough time to fully acclimate oneself to the rules of the road and the variables of driving. Those under 21 are more likely to speed, drive recklessly, or drive distractedly.

Conviction for an underage DUI offense in Hawaii has strong and lasting repercussions. Anyone arrested for this charge would be wise to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after the arrest.

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