Taking a joy ride with no specific destination is common for teenagers, especially when they have friends with them. However, this can end up becoming an issue if the teen decides to start speeding or driving erratically in order to impress or scare their friends. Additionally, teenagers are more likely to be enticed into participating in extremely dangerous behavior such as playing the game of chicken or drag racing. Therefore, it is important to discuss these topics with all new drivers, especially those who are already considered to be at-risk.
The Dangers of Drag Racing
A quick news search will reveal a surprisingly high number of teenagers who have been arrested for drag racing. In some cases, the culprits are not even legally allowed to drive yet. In 2010, a 14-year-old California resident was arrested for drag racing in a stolen car, and a Florida teenager died earlier this year when the vehicle she was riding in rolled over after going airborne. Getting a speeding ticket in Florida would have been enough of a penalty, but this girl paid the ultimate price, death.
These two examples showcase how life-altering a drag race can be, but most teens look at them as simply a fun way to spend an evening. Unfortunately, the majority of teenagers who have been involved in a drag race most likely would not have exhibited such reckless behavior if they had not been influenced by the presence of their friends. Therefore, it is important to remember that having a group of teens together in a vehicle can become very detrimental.
Driving Under the Influence
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24 percent of people between the ages of 12 and 20 have been a passenger in a vehicle that was being driven by someone who was intoxicated. In other words, even if your teenager abstains from drinking, it is still very possible that they will end up in a dangerous situation. Although it is impossible to keep your teen safe at all times, you do need to take the time to let them know what the potential consequences could be of their decision to let someone drive while they are under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.
What Will Happen to My Teen if They are Arrested for a DWI?
Each state makes their own DWI laws, so your location will have a big impact on the legal penalties that your teenager will face. For example, if you live in Florida, your teen will have their license suspended for six months if they were arrested for their first DWI and have a blood alcohol content (BAC) between .02 and .05. If their BAC is higher, they could face a longer license suspension, fines up to $2,000 and jail time. Keep in mind that a second DWI offense before the age of 21 will include harsher penalties such as a 12-month license suspension, fines up to $4,000 and the possibility of being sentenced to one year in prison.
Sadly, many teenagers will get behind the wheel after drinking or using drugs because they do not understand the legal consequences of getting caught. Therefore, it is important for you to help your teen learn how dangerous this type of behavior actually is. Additionally, if they are arrested for a DWI or drag racing, it will be imperative to get them an experienced attorney immediately.
Debbie Nguyen is a blogger and mother of two teen drivers in Atlanta. Her family often makes the trip from Georgia to the Panhandle for vacations. There are many spots on the way where drivers can earn a speeding ticket in Florida. The Tix Team, Inc. represents residents and visitors in Florida who need legal help when this event happens to them or their teen.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mazzuk/1292684789/