Drinking and Driving Habits May Form Early

It’s certainly not news to acknowledge the importance of peer groups in the typical teenager’s life. Yet according to a recent study, socially mediated impressions about unsafe driving behaviors may actually influence whether teens become impaired drivers.

In the study, researchers examined two issues. First, they questioned whether teenage passengers exposed to impaired driving would develop similar bad habits. Researchers examined the data to see if early licensure — getting a driver’s license anytime before the 12th grade — affected lawful driving habits in teens. Researchers based their findings on multiple surveys of a national pool of approximately 2,500 students in the tenth grade. Notably, the study followed the same participants over a two-year period, through the 12th grade.

According to the survey results, impaired driving in teens was affected the most by exposure to such bad habits in others. Getting a license at a younger age may also make teens slightly more susceptible, but that connection wasn’t as strong. In both instances, however, the results could be potentially scary news for readers because New Jersey is a zero-tolerance state. Pursuant to that policy, it is a criminal offense for anyone under the age of 21 to consume even a small amount of alcohol, save for a few exceptions.

Some of the enumerated exceptions include religious, medical or educational purposes. In most cases, however, anyone under the age of 21 found with a blood alcohol content of .01 percent or higher can be charged for driving under the influence. The penalties for a DUI offense can include fines, license suspense and even jail time. Consequently, criminal defendants need to prepare a strong defense. An experienced criminal defense attorney can provide expert assistance in that task.

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