Underage drinking is a major concern in the United States. There are an estimated 10.8 million underage drinkers in the United States. 1 out of every 6 teenagers engages in some form of binge drinking. This situation becomes more concerning when factoring in driving under the influence cases. In the United States, almost 1/3 of all fatal drunk-driving cases involve people aged 16-20.

The combination of drinking alcohol and driving can lead to some very serious consequences. Below are some statistics regarding underage drinking accidents.

Underage Drinking in General:

  • An estimated 5,000 people under the age of 21 die every year from drunk driving, alcohol poisoning, and alcohol-related accidents like drowning or burns.
  • In 2008, over 190,000 persons under the age of 21 had an emergency room visit for alcohol-related accidents.
  • Young people drink less frequently than adults, but they tend to drink more than adults when they do drink. The average minor consumes about 5 drinks when they drink, which is considered to be binge drinking.

Underage Drinking and Driving Statistics:

  • Driving with a blood alcohol content of over .08 is considered to be “alcohol impaired driving.” 33% of drivers 15-20 years old who were killed in car crashes in 2009 had a BAC of .01.  28% of young drivers had a BAC of greater than or equal to .08.
  • Car crashes become more serious when alcohol is involved. In 2009, 2% of the 15-20 year olds involved in car crashes that caused property-damage-only were intoxicated. 4% of young drivers involved in crashes resulting in physical injury were intoxicated. Lastly, 24% of young drivers involved in a fatal car crash had been intoxicated.
  • In 2009, up to 60% of drivers under the age of 21 involved in a fatal car crash were not properly restrained at the time of the accident.
  • Underage drinking in driving is greater for young males than it is for young females. In 2009, only 15% of young drivers involved in a fatal wreck had been drinking at the time of the accident, but the number was 27% for males.
  • Minimum drinking age laws are estimated to save around 600-700 lives every year, and they are estimated to reduce fatal accidents among people between 18 and 21 years by 13%.

Finally, underage drinking in general is linked with various other issues besides drunk-driving accidents. For instance, young drinkers may be exposed to physical violence or sexual violence risks when drinking. Impaired judgment can lead to poor decision-making. Also, long-term brain and internal organ damage is linked with drinking heavily at a young age.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with an Underage Drinking Case?

Underage drinking is one of the leading causes of deaths among persons aged 15-20 years old. You may wish to hire a criminal lawyer if you or a loved one needs help dealing with an underage drinking claim. Your attorney can provide you with legal guidance and answers to any inquiries you might have. Also, if you need to appear in court for whatever reason, your lawyer can represent you during the process as well.