Parents of teenagers who are starting to drive can help their children develop safe driving habits. Although the percentage of teens who drink and drive is decreasing nationally, Texas ranks high among the states battling a high rate of intoxication among underage drivers.
Helping teens understand the penalties they face for drinking and driving is essential for driver’s education.
What Does the Law State?
The Texas Department of Public Safety’s handbook for drivers indicates zero tolerance for even the tiniest trace of alcohol in a minor’s blood, resulting in a conviction for driving under the influence. DUI convictions also apply to minors in possession of an open alcohol container. Texas law also treats minors as adults in many cases.
What Penalties Can Teenagers Face?
Drivers under age 17 who are first-time violators of zero-tolerance rules can expect a 60-day license suspension. They must also complete up to 40 hours of community service and a court-mandated alcohol awareness course.
Drivers between 17 and 20 years old with prior infractions face harsher penalties, including a conviction equal to driving while intoxicated. Minors with DUI or DWI convictions are subject to a year-long license suspension and driving restrictions, up to 180 days in jail and fines up to $2,000.
Teenagers who operate motor vehicles with alcohol in their blood or while intoxicated receive harsher penalties depending upon their prior violations. The severest penalties begin after a third offense and come with fines up to $10,000, 10 years in jail and a minimum two-year license suspension.
Young drivers need to understand Texas laws governing alcohol and driving before getting behind the wheel of a car. A DUI or DWI conviction can have a long-term impact on your teenager’s future, but fortunately, it is avoidable.