Most parents already know that drinking is common among America’s youth. After all, parents of teenagers can remember what it was like when they were young. But, how big is the drinking problem among youth today?
According to data released from the San Francisco Police Department, 52 percent of eighth graders and 80 percent of twelfth graders admit to drinking alcohol at some point. When it comes to getting drunk, 25 percent of eight graders and 62 percent of twelfth graders said they’ve done it.
Even though it’s against the law for people under the age of 21 to drink, most teenagers say that it’s not difficult to get alcohol. In fact, they say it’s “easy.” SFPD reports that 71 percent of eight graders and 95 percent of seniors say they could get alcohol easily if they wanted to.
What are some of the risks of underage drinking?
- Since alcohol is a powerful mood-altering drug, teens don’t have the judgment to handle their alcohol intake wisely. This lack of control can lead to binge drinking, engaging in risky behaviors, and putting themselves in dangerous situations.
- A teen can “black out,” putting girls at risk of being raped.
- Teen boys can become overly aggressive and get in fights or commit sexual assault.
- Alcohol use among teens is linked to various deaths, such as suicide, drowning, fire, and homicide.
- Drunk driving is a major cause of injuries and fatalities among teens.
- Young people who drink are more likely to be violent crime victims.
Zero Tolerance for Underage Drinkers
In 1994, California enacted the “Admin Per Se” (APS) Zero Tolerance Law to crack down even harder on underage drinking and driving. Under California Vehicle Code (CVC) §23136, the state established strict zero tolerance penalties for people under the age of 21 who drink and drive.
Under Sec. 23136, anyone under 21 who is arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs and who: 1) took a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test, or a chemical test with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .01% or higher, or 2) who refused to submit to, or failed to complete a PAS or other chemical test will have their driver’s license suspended for one year (for a first offense).
Note: You have 10 days from the day you receive your Suspension/Revocation Order to request a DMV hearing to argue that your automatic one-year license suspension is not justified.
If the DMV decides to uphold your suspension, after a 30-day suspension has passed, you can apply for a critical need driver’s license only if you completed a chemical or PAS test with a BAC of .01% or more, and you really do have an important need to drive.
However, only first offenders who submitted to a chemical or PAS test can apply for a critical need restricted driver’s license.