Municipalities in Cobb County Using Teen Party Ordinances to Stop Underage Drunken Driving
The enactment of a new social host ordinance in Kennesaw is intended to discourage parents who furnish alcohol to those who are underage. Teen drunken driving accidents are one of the most common causes of serious car accidents which result in permanent injury and wrongful death. Parents that host teenage parties and provide alcohol in their home may be subject to six months in county jail, substantial fines and even a civil penalty in an amount to be determined by a judge.
These ordinances, which are sometimes referred to as “teen party ordinances,” have been enacted by counties and municipalities in nearly half of the states in the U.S. These laws provide another tool in the arsenal of weapons designed to prevent teen drunken driving. While these ordinances may reduce the frequency of Cobb County car accidents caused by alcohol impaired drivers, personal injury victims seeking financial compensation may need to rely on Georgia’s social host law. This law provides that a parent or other social host may be subject to civil damages if they provide alcohol to a teen driver with knowledge that the teenager will soon be driving.
Alcohol related collisions are even more tragic when they are the result of irresponsible adults who facilitate teen drunken driving. Laws prohibiting alcohol consumption by those under 21 are not based on an arbitrary determination. Studies reveal alcohol affects minors differently than adults. Underage drinkers get drunk twice as fast as adult drinkers according to research conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Teen drivers also have a harder time determining when they are over the legal limit because they have less experience with alcohol.
The practice of hosting parties where teens are allowed to consume alcohol under parental supervision is based on assumptions that run counter to empirical evidence. While some advocate removing the taboo associated with underage drinking by reducing the legal drinking age, underage drunken driving accidents were twice as common before the drinking age was increased to 21. Others suggest that allowing teens to drink alcohol in moderate amounts under parental supervision will promote responsible drinking by teens. However, studies have shown that more permissive attitudes by parents toward alcohol consumption in their presence frequently results in a higher likelihood that teenagers will binge drink when they are not supervised by adults.
The bottom line is that underage drinkers cause a significant number of auto accidents. Parents can reduce the risk of these tragedies by supervising and monitoring their kids when it comes to attending parties where alcohol may be present. Parents should also discourage their children from riding in the car with a teen driver that has been drinking.
If you or someone you love is injured by an alcohol impaired teen driver, our experienced Georgia accident attorneys have been fighting to hold those who cause drunken driving collisions accountable for almost thirty years. Montlick and Associates is available to provide effective legal representation to clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.