Teen Drinking and Driving Has To Stop


Miya Harris

Driving while drunk

On Oct. 17, the Amarillo Police Department busted three Amarillo convenience stores for selling alcohol to minors. Clerks, who sell to minors and act with total disregard for the law, are only adding to problem of underage drinking and teen drinking and driving.

According to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, one in 10 high school students have driven a vehicle in the past 30 days while or after drinking alcohol. This statistic is alarming considering that teens are 17 times more likely to crash while being drunk because their brains are still developing. In addition, they are new drivers which make them all the more dangerous. Most teens are not great drivers sober, so having alcohol in their system only increases the likely hood that someone could be seriously injured or even killed.

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Teens need to realize that they aren’t invincible, and when they get behind the wheel they put other people’s lives in danger as well.  In 2017, an estimated of 56% of  teen vehicular crashes involved alcohol and 33% of DWI fatalities impacted individuals aged 21 and younger.

Teen drinking and driving happens too often and can be easily prevented. First, because drinking under the age of 21 is illegal, teenagers need to know what consequences they face if they get caught. For a first offense in Texas, if you are 16 or younger, this means a fine up to $500, a 60 day driver’s license suspension, 20-40 hours of community service and a mandatory alcohol-awareness classes for the first offense. If you are 17 or older, the penalties are more severe: up to a $2,000 fine, 3-180 days in jail, a 90-365 day driver’s license suspension, and mandatory alcohol-awareness classes.  Secondly, teens should know the heath risks. If they do decide to drink, they do not need to get behind the wheel of a car, and put themselves and others at risk. They should find someone reliable to take them home safely.

There are many ways to prevent teen drinking and driving. It’s time for teens to take their actions seriously and make good decisions. It’s time to save lives.