(LOS ANGELES, June 6, 2007) — The Class of 2007 is celebrating high school graduation this month, and the Automobile Club of Southern California is reminding families that their students risk their lives and the lives of others on the road if they drink and drive.
"The summer months are typically filled with end-of-school parties, beach outings, picnics and barbecues, and those activities can become occasions for underage drinking," said Steven Bloch, Ph.D., the Auto Club's senior research associate.
"Not only is drinking and driving a safety risk, but drivers under age 21 who are found to have any blood-alcohol level in their system will have their license suspended for a year," Bloch added. "And DUI laws are also tougher for those under age 21, because teens tend to become impaired at lower blood-alcohol levels than adults. You can be convicted of driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol level of .05% - not .08% as for those over 21."
In addition to a one-year license suspension, a first-time DUI conviction for drivers under age 21 can cost them more than $15,000 ? including nearly $2,000 in court fees, $500 for alcohol education, $2,500 for attorney?s fees and $10,000 in additional insurance premium costs over the next ten years.
"We recommend that parents pay special attention during this time and know where their teens will be," Bloch said.
The Auto Club offers the following party tips to parents:
- Get to know the parents of your teen's friends.
- If your teen is attending a party, get the name, address and phone number of the host.
- Offer to assist the host with supervision.
- Make sure a parent will be present.
- Ask and make sure that alcohol and other drugs won't be permitted.
- Let your teen know that he/she must inform you if the party location changes, or if he or she wants to leave the party.
- Assure your teen that you can always be called on for a ride home, and discuss with your teen when or why they might need to call for a ride
- Stay awake until your teen arrives home and talk to them about the evening.