Permitting Teen Parties with Alcohol a Blueprint for Tragedy


February 19, 2012

If you are a Georgia parent with teenagers in high school, you probably worry about the danger of your child going to a teenage party and drinking alcohol. The NHTSA statistics reveal that 3 teenage drivers are killed in an alcohol-related accident every day.

As a parent, it is sometimes easiest to presume that our kids are not the ones consuming alcohol, but it is widely reported on the Internet that surveys indicate 70% of teenagers drink alcohol. This means that there is a substantial risk of one’s teenager attending parties, high school football games and similar functions and getting behind the wheel or climbing in the car as a passenger with a drunk driver.

It can be difficult for parents to know the best approach to preventing their teenager from being involved in a drunk driving accident in Georgia. Some parents take an approach that involves hosting parties for underage teenagers but confiscating the keys of those that attend the party. While this approach may have some appeal to parents that presume their child will drink and want to ensure they do not end up in the car with an intoxicated driver, there are substantial risks to this approach.

Despite good intentions, there can be very serious consequences to hosting a party where you are involved in purchasing, selling or providing alcohol to minors. While you may believe that you are controlling teen behavior, teens may still get access to a car so they drink and drive. The best way to control your teen’s exposure to alcohol is to provide no access. Georgia has a dram shop law (O.C.G.A. § 51-1-40) that provides that a social host can be liable for serving alcohol to a minor under age 21 knowing that the underage drinker will be driving a car. If you host a party in your home and permit minors to drink, you risk liability for injuries that occur in a drunk driving accident involving a teenager who is served alcohol at the party.

The prevalence of alcohol-related accidents that result in injuries and fatalities to teenagers make it understandable that a parent might try to host a party and control access to alcohol. Ultimately, this strategy can expose a well-intentioned parent to both criminal and civil liability if someone at the party causes a drunk driving accident. The experienced Georgia car accident lawyers at Montlick and Associates have represented clients throughout the state in drunk driving accidents since 1984, including those involving teen drivers. If you or someone you love has been hit by a drunk driver, Montlick and Associates invites you to contact us to see how we can help.

Our Georgia car accident attorneys are available to assist 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.

Category: Auto Accidents

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Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.