Most people, including parents, understand that part of being a teenager is testing boundaries and getting into trouble. Teenagers’ antics are harmless enough in most cases, but unfortunately there are instances where young people put themselves and others in real danger. Underage drunk driving is an offense that is taken very seriously in the state of North Dakota, and is responsible for claiming thousands of lives every year across the country.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving discusses issues concerning, and explains that the illegal practice is a major issue everywhere. Underage drunk drivers are linked to around 25 percent of fatal car accidents involving teenagers, and the chance of a teenager being involved in an alcohol-related collision increases significantly if he or she drinks. Beyond the immediate threat that underage drinking poses to teenage drivers and others on the road, it is also linked to a long-term health and lifestyle risks. It is currently estimated that almost 50 percent of 10th grade students drink alcohol, and that dropout rates among high school students who consume alcohol and other substances are increasingly high.
In order to combat many of the issues discussed above, the state of North Dakota takes a zero-tolerance approach to underage drunk driving. According to North Dakota State University, no one under the age of 21 may purchase, possess or consume alcohol. Several local, state and federal guidelines address underage drinking and DUI-related offenses, and range in severity from misdemeanor to felony charges. Beyond that, state laws also prohibit and penalize the act of providing alcohol to anyone under the legal drinking age.