Does a Minor Consumption Violation Affect Teen Auto Insurance?
Prior to the start of local High School athletic programs a parent meeting usually takes place. During this time, the coach shares school and team expectations. The coach is expected to explain the state eligibility guidelines, in particular, addressing the Zero Tolerance policy. This contract must be signed by the parent and the student. At one particular meeting, the coach approached this issue by stating, “We have a Zero Tolerance policy in effect. It’s self-explanatory … don’t do it” and continued on. What parents should be told is the impact a minor consumption violation could have on their child’s life.
What is Zero Tolerance?
The Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990, signed into law by George H. W. Bush, prohibited any unauthorized user of fire arms from carrying within the school zone. The debates during the next four years resulted in passing the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994. Signed into law by Bill Clinton, it required each state receiving federal funds to have a State law requiring local educational agencies to expel, for at least one year, any student who is determined to have brought a weapon to school. Many states passed into law specific punishment regarding the possession or use of illicit drugs or weapons effectively punishing any infraction of a rule, regardless of accidental mistakes, ignorance, or extenuating circumstances. Students, and sometimes staff, parents, and other visitors, who possess a banned item for any reason are always (if the policy is followed) to be punished.
How does Zero Tolerance apply to Minor Consumption?
According the U.S. Constitution’s 21st Amendment, a minor consuming alcohol is unlawful. If a minor, under age 21, receives an underage drinking citation from law enforcement the consequences may affect their school involvement, driving privileges and insurance rates.
How Underage Drinking affects school involvement
Due to the mandatory state specific Zero Tolerance laws many schools require a signed eligibility contract from the Athletic/Activity student and the parent. This contract is in effect for one 12-month period, beginning on day one of practice/rehearsal. This contract lays out consequences should the student violate the Mood-Altering Chemical Bylaw. Please understand a student merely holding an alcoholic beverage (open or closed) at a house party will result in a minor possession charge. Check with local school league for consequences.
How Underage Drinking Affects Teen Driving Privileges
All 50 States have a graduated license process in place. This program consists of the Learner Stage, Intermediate Stage and Full Privilege Stage. When a minor chooses to sip on an alcoholic beverage, the levels of consequences depend on the amount of consumption. The following is a guide, check with local and state laws for specific BAC levels.
Minor Consumption Persons under age 21 may not consume any alcoholic beverage.
Minor Possession Persons under age 21 may not possess an alcoholic beverage with intent to consume.
Open Bottle May not possess a receptacle containing any alcoholic beverage that has been opened, the seal broken, or partially removed contents while in a private motor vehicle upon a street or highway. This includes the removal of one bottle in a four pack.
Underage drinking and driving can suspend or revoke a driver’s license from 1 to 365 days. Know the consequences before taking the risk of losing driving privileges.
DUI May not operate a motor vehicle while consuming or after having ingested an alcoholic beverage. (Any detectable alcohol concentration less than 0.08.)
DWI May not drive, operate, or be in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance or an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.
How Underage Drinking Affects Insurance Rates
On average, males age 18-25 have the highest car insurance premium of any generation and same age females are ranked second. An insurance company, whether new or existing policy, will order a motor vehicle report. A MVR includes:
- Traffic citations
- Vehicular crimes
- Accident reports
- Driving record points
- DUI convictions
When living in a state with a graduated, or provisional, license procedure, any suspension or revocation of driver’s license will appear on their MVR and is reflected on the auto renewal premium. Insurance premiums may double or triple at each renewal when an underage citation appears.
It All Adds Up
Before a child takes a first sip at a house party, plan to talk with him/her about the reality of a minor possession and/or consumption. They could:
$$$ Receive traffic citation
$$$ Court fees
$$$ License renewed
$$$ Increased insurance premiums
$$$ Lose eligibility to compete in Athletics/activities
$$$ Lose scholarship opportunities
This is not self-explanatory, children need to hear it.
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