Don’t drink and drive. Call a designated driver. Buzzed driving is drunk driving. These are all the slogans we hear to prevent dangerous drunk driving accidents from an early age. There is a definite difference, however, between an adult drinking and driving, and a teenager who drinks and drives. Underage drinking, in all states, is considered illegal, so there’s no way a kid can be in a drunk driving accident unless he or she has been partying with friends, right?
There are actually eight exceptions to the minimum drinking age of 21 in the U.S.; legal loopholes for letting underage adults, teenagers and children consume alcohol, sometimes even without the consent of a parent or legal guardian.
- In Wisconsin, for example, a minor can drink alcohol at a private party or event as long as a parent (or spouse) gives consent and remains on the premises.
- Oklahoma allows a minor to drink at a private home, even without the consent of a parent, spouse or legal guardian.
- As part of a religious ceremony, states like Utah, Colorado and Michigan allow minors to consume alcohol.
- Washington state allows a minor to consume alcohol, under physician’s orders, for medical purposes.
- Florida students can consume alcohol in a post-secondary education program, like cooking school.
- In Kentucky, an underage drinker who informs emergency medical treatment personnel of another minor’s level of intoxication will not be charged with drinking.
- Wisconsin also allows a minor to drink at a bar or restaurant, as long as he or she is given consent by a parent or spouse.
While allowing a minor to drink alcohol doesn’t necessarily give them the “green light” for underage drinking, that one beer can be enough for an inexperienced teen to make a dangerous decision to drive drunk. Underage drinking can also lead to drunk driving accidents and punishments for the minor that last well beyond the age of 21. like jail time, an ignition interlock device installation, a felony record and more.