Crackdown planned on underage drinking

Zero Tolerance Law targets teen drivers

During the current prom and graduation season, state, county and city law enforcement officers are making a special push to crack down on underage drinking.

The enhanced effort from now through May 13 is designed to help prevent serious alcohol-related accidents involving underage drivers.

Missouri has a Zero Tolerance Law that makes it illegal for anyone under age 21 to possess or consume alcohol in the state.

Anyone under age 21 will have his or her driver’s license suspended for 90 days for a first offense or revoked for one year for a subsequent offense for any one of the following reasons:

• Any alcohol-related traffic offense.

• Any offense involving the possession or use of alcohol while operating a motor vehicle, regardless of the amount consumed.

• Any offense involving the possession or use of drugs.

• Any offense involving the alteration, modification or misrepresentation of a driver’s license.

• A second offense involving the possession or use of alcohol by someone under 18 years of age.

Even with the Zero Tolerance Law, youth account for a significant proportion of drunk drivers causing traffic crashes in Missouri.

Many drunk drivers are under the age of 21. From 2009 to 2011, there were 83 fatal crashes and 233 disabling injury crashes involving an impaired driver under age 21. There were 94 people killed and 368 injured seriously in these crashes.

With the Zero Tolerance Law in Missouri, anyone under age 21 caught driving with even a trace of alcohol in his or her system will face an automatic driver’s license suspension.

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