When kids go away to college, they may be exposed to an environment of alcohol consumption unlike anything they’ve experienced before. Away from parental supervision — and wanting to make friends and fit in — college students often overindulge. For young people who have never done much drinking, even a bottle of beer or a glass of wine may impair their thinking, judgment and balance.
Too often, college students get behind the wheel without understanding just how intoxicated they are. If they’re under 21, they can’t legally drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of even .02%, which most people exceed with even one drink.
When college students turn 21 and can legally drink, the BAC for illegal intoxication rises to .08%. However, knowing what that means as far as drinking can be confusing. Of course, as a parent, you know it means don’t drink at all if you’re going to drive.
What factors affect BAC?
Your son or daughter, however, may have gotten all sorts of inaccurate information about how many drinks it’s “safe” to have. There’s no one right answer for any two people. How high your BAC rises depends on many factors. In addition to the size of the drink and the amount of alcohol in it (its “proof), these include:
- Body weight
- Amount of food in the stomach
- What the alcohol in the drink is mixed with
- Medications or other drugs a person is taking
- A person’s tolerance for alcohol
Even if someone doesn’t reach an illegal BAC level for driving, if alcohol has impaired them enough that they catch the attention of a law enforcement officer, they can still be arrested for driving under the influence.
A DUI can stay with someone for years
A DUI isn’t just a harmless college mishap. Even if someone is lucky enough not to be injured in a crash or to injure anyone else, a DUI can affect their college career – including any scholarships or team participation. It can stay with them as they enter the workforce and potential employers run background checks.
If your child has been arrested for DUI, it’s wise to seek guidance from an attorney who can protect their rights and work to mitigate the consequences to their future.