March 27, 2007

Penalties for Underage Drinking

On a cold February night in Oswego, Illinois four teenagers died in a car accident and a fifth teenager dies a week later due to his injuries suffered during car accident. There were a total of nine people in the car that night. The driver was not underage, but the rest were. I won’t go into the details about this horrid event of that night, but those events might lead to new legislation aimed at curbing teenage drinking.

Illinois Republican Tom Cross of Oswego and Kendall County State's Attorney Eric Weis proposed House Bill 3131, which would suspend the driver's license of a convicted underage drinker for three months, and HB 3327, which would mandate drunken-driving education in driver's education classes.
In the first piece of legislation tied to the Feb. 11 crash that killed five Oswego teens, Weis and state Rep. Tom Cross proposed Monday that anyone under 21 caught drinking any amount of alcohol would face a three-month license suspension.

"Their license is a precious thing," Cross, an Oswego Republican, said. "To lose that is not something they want to do, but, when we're talking about precious, life is precious."

People under the age of 21 convicted of drinking -- but not driving -- are often given three months supervision, meaning they can avoid jail time if they are not arrested again during that time. House Bill 3131 would propose that part of the terms of the supervision would include suspending the underage drinker's license for three months, even if the teen were not in a car.
Usually, legislations propose after terrible events are an overreaction. This time it is not, I fully support two House bills proposed. It would be hypocritical if I did not point out my underage drinking, but this is legislation was law back then I would have lost my privilege to drive for months. I would have made different choices. This legislation won’t solve the problem of underage drinking but, if it stops a few underage drinkers from driving then it has done its job.

What do you think is this legislation to relax, strict or not needed?


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