As parents we try to ensure our children are safe, no matter how old they are. When your child is not yet an adult, however, protecting them can be a full-time job. Underage DUI accidents in Virginia may be on a decline, perhaps due to vigilant parenting, but a recently released map of Fairfax County youth car accidents shows that there is still plenty of work ahead.
Kids will be kids and car accidents will happen, whether due to inexperience or other drivers on the road. Unfortunately, when an underage DUI is part of the equation, there’s a lot more to consider than extra driving lessons. Virginia law is tough on underage DUI offenders, with perhaps some of the harshest guidelines for those who are just getting their first taste of driving freedom. While the map of Fairfax County accidents are not all underage drunk driving incidents, any DUI that is shown results in the same type of penalties, no matter the age of the driver.
That means that a 16-year-old DUI driver in Fairfax County or anywhere in Virginia will face the same consequences as a DUI driver over the age of 21. Most importantly, that means that a 16-year-old who is convicted of a DUI in Virginia will also have an ignition interlock requirement, even if it’s their first drunk driving conviction. That also means that your vehicle will be the one with the interlock installed, and that you will likely be using it, as well as your kid.
The Fairfax County underage vehicle accident map gives us a quick look at how important it is to keep an open dialogue with our kids, even if we think they’ve learned the rules of the road. A nagging parent may be annoying (even to the parent!) but the lessons about underage DUI in Virginia are too important to ignore.