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Be alert to the young binge-drinking-and-driving crowd

With the advent of spring break, motorists are reminded that there will be an influx of young drivers on our roads, an early warning that it will not be long until school is out for the summer.

Be on the lookout for underage drivers who may have been drinking before getting behind the wheel. It might surprise you to know how many young people are binge drinkers.

Binge drinking explained

Binge drinking is a pattern of alcohol consumption that is quite popular with teenagers as well as college students. Unlike their parents, who may have a beer or two or a couple of glasses of wine with dinner, teens prefer to down several drinks in rapid succession, perhaps one evening a week, say, with friends on a Saturday night. This practice is generally defined as an individual having a minimum of five drinks in succession for men, four for women, in the space of about two hours. Binge drinking elevates the blood alcohol content to 0.08 percent or above in a brief amount of time.

Impaired driving

According to statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people aged 11 to 20--illegal drinkers--are responsible for imbibing 11 percent of all the alcohol consumed in the U.S. Furthermore, 90 percent of that 11 percent is taken in the form of binge drinking. A drink or two will make a person feel relaxed, but even a small amount of alcohol will affect judgment. A binge drinker may feel emboldened, thinking there is no problem with his or her ability to operate a vehicle. However, many binge drinkers are stopped on suspicion of drunk driving. They are arrested, tested and ultimately convicted of driving under the influence.

Jeopardizing a future

A DUI is a serious matter, and a criminal defense attorney will tell you that this kind of mark on a young person's record can adversely affect his or her plans for education, and for future employment. While legal assistance can bring a DUI case to the best conclusion possible, the best advice anyone can give is for a young person to reevaluate the idea of binge drinking and driving and acknowledge that it is a terrible idea.

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