New Bill Targets Underage Drunk Drivers

By Amberly Richardson

California’s government is attempting to curb the amount of
underage drinking and driving.

Bill AB 2752 was recently approved and goes into effect Jan. 1,
as it directly targets underage drinkers.

The approaching winter break will provide three weeks of relief
from the stresses of class. During this time of celebration,
California has sent the message to avoid getting behind the wheel
and driving drunk.

“If you are going to drink, don’t drive,” said Sergeant Leo
Verdugo of University Police.

AB 2752 makes it a crime for anyone under the age of 21 to
operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .01 or

This bill gives California a true zero-tolerance policy for
underage drinking and driving. Current law only allows for law
enforcement to impound an underage driver’s car for one day and
notify the DMV of the incident.

“This legislation will get the real attention of parents, the
teenage driver, the DMV, police and insurance companies before an
underage driver kills or injures someone,” said Assembly member
Todd Spitzer in a CHP press release.

A blood alcohol content of .08 is the legal limit for a person
21 and over, but there is no set formula to know when one’s body
reaches that point.

“Each person’s body assimilates or burns off alcohol at a
different rate,” said Verdugo.

Another way California has stepped up its efforts to catch drunk
drivers is through sobriety checkpoints, which are intended to help
keep drunk drivers off the road. Some students disagree.

“[D.U.I checkpoints are] ineffective, but necessary in order to
show that police are not soft on the issue,” said Katherine
Dandridge, a third-year political science student.

According to the American Journal of Public Health, 2.1 million
students between the ages of 18 and 24 drove under the influence of
alcohol in 2002 and of those 110,000 were arrested for public
drunkenness or driving under the influence.

The estimated cost of a DUI is more than $5,500.

“[The cost] is just right. It’s a serious charge. Drunk driving
affects people indiscriminately,” said Dandridge.

A D.U.I also affects driving privileges.

A driver under the age of 21 will have his or her license
suspended for one year. A driver 21 or over will have his or her
license suspended for four months for the first offense.

If caught driving on a suspended license, the driver will face
additional fees and possibly additional suspension and jail

Amberly Richardson can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at (909) 869-3747.

New Bill Targets Underage Drunk Drivers

New Bill Targets Underage Drunk Drivers

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