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UNDERAGE DRINKING: FATALITIES, INJURIES, SERIOUS LEGAL PROBLEMS SPIKE DURING PROM AND GRADUATION SEASON

February 9, 2015

Underage drinking and the adults that facilitate it put Illinois citizens at increased risk.

Chicago, IL, May 26, 2013 – The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) lists automotive accidents as the leading cause of death for American teens. According to the 2013 Illinois DUI Handbook, just over one third of all traffic fatalities in the state are alcohol related. Incidents of underage drinking typically see a sharp increase during prom and graduation season, creating a higher risk of traffic accidents resulting in injury or death and serious legal problems for teens and parents.

Statistics collected by the CDC indicate that teens as a group have a significantly higher accident rate than other age groups. Teen drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a traffic accident resulting in death than adult drivers. Adding alcohol to youth and inexperience creates a dangerous situation, dramatically increasing the risk of an accident. Almost a quarter of teen driver accidents resulting in death also involved drinking and driving. Drinking can contribute to other unsafe behaviors on the road, like loud music, overcrowded vehicles, and interacting with passengers instead of watching the road. According to the CDC, 56 percent of teens killed during a drinking and driving incident were not wearing seat belts.

Illinois has responded to the risks associated with teen drivers and underage drinking by increasing penalties for teens caught drinking and driving. There is no allowable BAC for teen drivers, so any detectable amount of alcohol will result in driver license suspension. There are increased penalties for underage drinking that doesn’t involve driving as well. A teen caught drinking or in possession of alcohol can have driving privileges suspended.

Parents that turn a blind eye to underage drinking at graduation parties or after prom parties may want to reconsider that policy because Illinois has moved to address that issue. Allowing or ignoring underage drinking and providing or not securing alcohol can result in felony charges, depending on the specifics of the situation. In some circumstances, if underage drinking results in property damage, injury or death, criminal and civil action can be taken against liable adults, such as an adult that provided alcohol or hosted a party or the parents of a teen driver in an accident that resulted in injury or death.

The legal issues and liabilities surrounding underage drinking and teen driving accidents can be complex. The laws governing these situations continue to evolve as lawmakers strike to find effective means of addressing these problems. An experienced Chicago auto accident attorney or Chicago personal injury lawyer can guide you through to a just outcome. Contact Ankin Law at (844) 600-0000 for a consultation today.