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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Underage Drinking at the Jersey Shore

Thanks to a group of overly tanned twenty-somethings and a set of extremely toned abs, people across the United States are more familiar with the Jersey Shore than ever before. As portrayed on the shore, the Jersey Shore is known as the summer party spot for the twenty-something crowd in New Jersey and its surrounding states. Unfortunately, not all of those enjoying in the endless summer parties are of legal age.

Parents of underage children who may be traveling to the Jersey Shore's resort areas can rest a bit easier. New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow recently held a press conference in Wildwood, NJ to announce a major crackdown on underage drinking at the Jersey Shore.

Last summer, over 500 underage drinkers were arrested at the Jersey Shore. This year, the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control and the Division of Highway Safety partnered to combat the underage drinking problem. Additionally, Dow is encouraging law enforcement officials to charge underage drinkers to the fullest extent of the law.

Currently, underage drinkers face steep fines and the loss of his or her driver’s license for 6 months if convicted. That’s right, in New Jersey underage drinking can lead to the loss of a driver's license even if you are not driving! Dow explained that charging underage drinkers to the fullest extent of the law will get their attention. She said, “Driving is a privilege. Take away that privilege and you’ll get people’s attention.”

The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control is sending the strong message that the consequences of underage drinking reach far beyond the legal ramifications. According to the division’s director, the division wants young people to be aware of the life-changing consequences that affect the drinker and all of the people whose lives may be affected by his or her drunken decisions.

The Division of Highway Traffic Safety also aims to combat a growing problem in New Jersey: drugged driving. According to the division’s director, Pam Fischer, that 28,705 people were arrested for driving while intoxicated in 2008 in New Jersey. Of those people charged, 2,938 of them were under the age of 21.

Fischer said, “While we continue to made steady progress in our fight to keep drunk drivers off of our roads, we still have a long way to go if we are to ensure that all drivers, add in particular our newest and youngest ones, remain safe.” Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 20. Young drivers are inexperienced and tend to have a false sense of confidence behind the wheel. When alcohol is incorporated into that scenario you have a recipe for disaster, especially in the summer months at the Jersey Shore.

Additional Articles to Prevent Underage Drinking:

How to Deal with Underage Drinking: Tips for Parents
Social Hosting: Underage Drinking

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