Underage Drunk Driving in Georgia
Underage drunk-driving is harshly punished in Georgia. Additionally, the blood alcohol content (BAC) level is lower for drunk drivers who are under the legal age to drink alcohol. Georgia—like most other states—has a zero tolerance law when it comes to underage drunk-driving. That means that if you are caught drunk-driving and you are under 21 years of age, you can be arrested for DUI with a mere 0.2 blood alcohol content (BAC).
In 1984, Congress passed the National Minimum Legal Drinking Act. Under this act, states were required to change the legal drinking age to 21 in order to continue receiving federal assistance for highway construction projects. Congress sought to protect young people from drunk-driving accidents due to their inexperience with both alcohol consumption and driving. This is especially so since statistics show that vehicle fatalities are one of the leading causes of deaths in teenagers.
The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found that people who begin drinking alcoholic beverages at a young age are seven times more likely to be involved in an alcohol-related accident than their non-drinking peers. In 2011, drunk-driving accidents claimed the lives of 1,249 people under the age of 21 years. This startling statistic is attributed to the fact that underage drinkers get intoxicated twice as fast as their adult counterparts, and they are also less likely to be able to consume alcohol in moderation due to their inexperience with alcohol consumption.
Penalties and Consequences for Underage Drunk-Driving
The penalties for underage drunk-driving can be steep. This is especially so because most underage drunk-drivers have a clean criminal record with their whole adult lives and careers ahead of them. A drunk-driving conviction can seriously impact a young person’s ability to apply to college, qualify for a loan or housing and seek employment. Additionally, an underage DUI conviction will result in fines and the temporary loss of your driver’s license. You can also expect your car insurance premiums to skyrocket. You may also be required to attend alcohol counseling and a drunk-driving program as well as complete a set number of community service hours.