Teens And Drinking

While some parents and adults, in general, may choose to turn a blind eye and believe this doesn’t happen in today’s world, the truth of the matter is that it most certainly does.

The statistics do not lie:

  • 5,000 kids under the age of 21 die each year because of underage drinking.
  • Alcohol is a factor in one-third of all teenage auto fatalities.
  • Young drivers are 17 times more likely to die in a crash when they have a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .08% than when they have not been drinking.

Ignoring it will not make it go away. Ignoring it can only make it worse.

What To Know About Teenagers and Alcohol

While the legal age to drink is 21, this does not stop teenagers from experimenting with alcohol starting at a young age. Whether these teens are stealing alcohol from their parents’ liquor cabinets, asking older brothers and sisters purchase it for them, or have acquired fake IDs in order to purchase it themselves, teen drinking is real and in turn, means that teen drinking and driving is out happening as a result. It’s not uncommon. In fact, 28% of teens admit that they have been in a car driven by someone who had been drinking.

Teens are impressionable and tend to think quickly without considering the consequences. But it doesn’t stop at age 18. Young adults in college, even once they have hit the legal drinking age, can still fall victim to imbibing a bit too much and either getting into the car with someone else who has been drinking, or getting behind the wheel themselves.

At South Florida law firm, Wolf & Pravato, we feel that it is part of our job as Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys to keep our community engaged and informed about safety, especially when it comes to our children and drinking and driving.

Educating your children about drinking and driving is of the utmost importance. As a parent, you need to make sure they are aware of the repercussions that can occur if they drive after having a couple of drinks, whether they are of legal age or not. Drill it into their heads that getting behind the wheel while under the influence can result in jail time, losing their license and driving privileges, being denied acceptance to college, or worse, injuring themselves or someone else.

These tips will help you stay ahead of the game when it comes to educating your children about the dangers of drinking and driving:

  • It’s never too early to start. It’s very likely that your child might start to experience peer pressure to drink at a very young age, even as young as elementary school. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to begin mentioning things like some of the statistics mentioned above statistics and the dangers of intoxicated driving. You can even share personal stories, if you have any, to show that these are not just things that happen in movies or TV shows; they do happen in real life, to people we know and love.
  • Don’t just tell them — show them. Parents are huge role models for their children, even if their kids hate to admit it. Set a good example for your teens when it comes to drinking and driving, and be aware of any of your own missteps. Do not encourage drinking and driving in any way, and always use a designated driver (or be one yourself).
  • It’s okay to be the “bad guy.” You need to enforce a set of rules and consequences for drinking and driving, and underage drinking in general. If you catch your teen in a situation where they have been drinking or got behind the wheel while intoxicated, don’t “let them off the hook” and give them another chance to do the same thing again. You never know if something much worse could occur the next time it happens. The thought of a punishment can sometimes be enough to keep them from breaking the rules. Threaten them with coveted activities like attending parties on the weekend or going over to friends’ houses after school, or something much worse — taking away their car or driving privileges. It’s important that your children understand that you are not trying to dictate or control their lives by doing this, you are simply trying to keep them safe.
  • Become your child’s support system. Let them know that if they do happen to find themselves out one night and they had a couple drinks, it’s okay to call you without the fear of getting into a lot of trouble. Being there for your teenage children in this kind of situation could certainly save their life, and the lives of others. Give your children the assurance that if the situation arises where they are unable to drive, or if the person who drove is also under the influence, they can rely on your to pick them up, without judgment.
  • Be proactive. You don’t need to become a “helicopter parent,” but it is important to know who your teen’s friends are, what kind of activities they are involved in, and where they frequently hang out. It’s also ideal to know the parents of your child’s friends too, and talk to them about their own rules regarding drinking and driving.

Teenagers look to their parents for guidance, and in these incidences where drinking occurs, there are experts that believe that parents should allow their teenage children to have a drink with them occasionally. This makes alcohol seem less of a taboo topic and could lessen the amount in which their overindulge on their own, in more dangerous situations.

Now, once your teenage children have gone off to college and are no longer under your watchful eye, things can get a bit muddled. The parties, the dorm life, the bars that don’t ID… It’s a haven for binge drinking. Drinking in college is inevitable, as it becomes part of the social norm.

Many colleges and universities like the University of Florida are doing their part to prevent students from binge drinking and drinking and driving.

Boston University requires all freshmen students to take an alcohol prevention program and imparts their own disciplinary consequences for things like fake IDs and older students purchasing alcohol for younger students.

Some schools, such as North Dakota State University, has a completely dry campus and does not allow any alcohol on the premises, regardless of age. Other schools choose to target specific groups and rituals, i.e., Indiana University banned hard liquor at fraternity parties, Stanford University has banned it at all undergraduate parties, and University of Michigan has student volunteers who help monitor banned or unsafe behaviors at these parties.

If you would like more information regarding the laws about underage drinking, DUIs, and drinking and driving in general, our Florida personal injury law firm is available to listen to your concerns and answer any questions you may have. We believe that education is the key to safety.

Call our personal injury law firm in Fort Lauderdale today to schedule an appointment.

 

 

 

Eric RosadoDrunk Driving Accidents – Teens And College
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St. Patrick’s Day festivities will be in full swing this weekend and the celebration of Irish heritage is getting ready to kick into high gear in large cities and small towns across America. Unfortunately, the celebration with lots of pints of green beer has ended sadly for too many people in this country. Between 2010 and 2014, half of the men killed in car crashes on St. Patrick’s Day died due to drunk driving. From 2009 to 2013, 276 people died as a result of drinking and driving.

The holiday celebration doesn’t have to end in such tragedy. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a division of the Department of Transportation, has touted SaferRide, its app for mobile devices, which can help those who have had a little too much to drink get home safely.

Eric RosadoSt. Patrick’s Day Drunk Driving Prevention
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Palm City Woman Had BAC Three Times the Legal Limit When She Struck and Killed Motorcyclist

A 24-year-old Palm City woman had a blood alcohol content nearly three times the legal limit when she struck and killed a motorcyclist with her car on September 7.

The woman, Amanda McClure, and two of her friends were in her Lexus ES350 after leaving a Palm Beach Gardens bar. She hit a 1984 Harley Davidson from behind while driving about 75 mph. The motorcyclist, John Henry Regan, aged 58, died at the scene of the accident.

Both passengers in the Lexus said they were looking at their phones at the time of the accident and did not see what happened. Investigators at the scene said that McClure’s eyes were red and her speech was slurred. A blood test showed that her blood alcohol level was .24%. The legal limit in the state of Florida is .08%.

McClure apparently refused to speak with investigators at the scene, and turned her back on troopers when they tried to ask questions about the crash. Records indicate that McClure was convicted of DUI in March of 2009.

Statistics have shown that the number of fatal car accidents as well as DUI accidents in West Palm Beach are consistently higher than those for the state of Florida as a whole. In 2010, 123 traffic-related deaths occurred in Palm Beach County alone. Along with two other counties, Palm Beach County is one of the top four counties in South Florida for numbers of vehicular fatalities in the state of Florida. In 2010, Florida saw an average of 645 car crashes per day.

In addition, there are nearly 31,000 motorcyclists registered in Palm Beach County. Even though the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has been working toward stemming the number of motorcycle fatalities across the state, motorcycle accidents resulting in injuries and wrongful deaths are still occurring on a regular basis. In fact, motorcycle fatalities in Florida alarmingly rose by almost 30% from 2009 to 2010.

DUI accidents are 100% preventable. If you or someone you love has been injured due to a drunk driver, it is imperative that you speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. In addition to the criminal charges the drunk driver will be facing, they can also be subject to a civil lawsuit brought by the victims of the accident or their families. In addition, it is possible for an establishment that served alcohol to be held liable if their patron then got behind the wheel of a car and caused injuries to others. For more information regarding your rights if you or someone you love is the victim of a drunk driving crash, contact the DUI injury attorneys from the law offices of Wolf and Pravato at 1-954-633-8270.

Eric RosadoPalm City Woman Had BAC 3 Times the Legal Limit When She Killed Motorcyclist
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Drunk Driving Accident FAQ

Are drunk driving accidents common in Florida?

Florida DMV records show that there were 33,625 DUI convictions in Florida in 2011. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 716 alcohol-related driving fatalities that year, which accounted for nearly 30 percent of total driving fatalities in Florida.

How are drunk drivers punished in Florida?drunk drive

Florida Statute Section 316.193(3) states that any person who causes serious bodily injury while driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance can be charged with a Third Degree Felony. This is punishable in Florida with a $5,000 fine and/or up-to 5 years imprisonment.

DUI Vehicular Manslaughter in Florida is a second-degree felony punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and/or 15 years imprisonment. If the drunk driver knowingly leaves the scene of an accident and fails to give information or report the accident for law enforcement and medical assistance, then the suspect may be guilty of a first-degree felony punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and/or 30 years imprisonment.

Any offender whose driving privileges had been suspended for DUI Manslaughter or Vehicular Homicide is guilty of a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by both jail time up to 5 years and/or a fine no more than $5,000.

What should I do if I was involved in an accident with a drunk driver?

The most important thing is to get medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you do not have visible cuts or bruises, you should still be checked out by a doctor in the event of any internal injuries. You should also have a follow-up exam within a few days of the accident in case any injuries you sustained did not present themselves immediately.

If you are not seriously injured, you need to get the name of the other driver as well as his or her contact information, license plate number and the name of the driver’s insurance company and policy number. You should also try to collect the contact information of any witnesses. If you have a camera or camera phone available, take pictures of the accident scene.

Can I sue a drunk driver in civil court for damages?Drunk Driver

Yes. If you were injured in a car accident involving a drunk driver, that driver may be held liable if it can be proven that his or her intoxication caused the accident. An experienced Fort Lauderdale drunk driving accident attorney from the law offices of Wolf & Pravato can work with you to investigate the accident and prove negligence on the part of the other driver.

If the other driver is found to have caused your accident, he or she may be required to compensate you for your medical expenses, lost wages, future loss of earnings, property damage, pain and suffering, etc.

Can I sue a bar or restaurant for serving too much alcohol to a driver?

Dram shop laws govern the legal responsibility of an individual or establishment that serves alcohol to a person, who then causes an injury due to his or her intoxication. Florida dram shop law, however, is very limited. In the State of Florida, people or establishments that sell alcohol are not held liable for accidents caused by the people they served unless the individual is a minor or if the person is known to the “habitually addicted” to alcohol.

If a family member was killed by a drunk driver, can I file a wrongful death lawsuit?

A wrongful death claim can be filed by the survivors of a person killed in an accident caused by a drunk driver. A family (spouse, children, next of kin) can be compensated for medical and funeral expenses, as well as a loss of financial support, companionship, parental guidance, etc.

Contact The Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato:

The law offices of Wolf & Pravato is a personal injury law firm with offices in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Fort Myers, West Palm Beach, Tampa, and Boynton Beach.

Call us at 1-954-633-8270 or fill out our online contact form.

We also help the victims of a car accident in the following cities:

Eric RosadoDrunk Driving Accident FAQ
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