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Study shows the importance of rules in curbing underage drinking

A new study reveals how important rules are in helping to prevent underage drinking in Pennsylvania and across the U.S. Underage drinking is linked to engaging in other high-risk behaviors, including drunk driving. By curbing underage drinking, it is also possible to reduce the number of underage drunk driving incidents.

Researchers from the Wake Forest School of Medicine surveyed over 1,100 minors ranging in age from 15 to 20 about their drinking behaviors and home rules. The minors whose parents had clear rules prohibiting underage drinking were 35 percent less likely than their peers to have gone to drinking parties within the prior 30 days. Sixty percent of the respondents reported having attended parties where drinking occurred. Of those, 38 percent who reported not drinking while there also reported that their families had strict rules in place. Overall, 58 percent of the respondents reported that their parents did have clear rules prohibiting underage drinking.

Limitations to the study include that it did not look at other factors, including the participants' birth order or the types of specific rules. In addition, 76 percent of the respondents were white. This means that there could be different results in other groups.

Minors who are charged with drinking and driving might want to retain a criminal defense lawyer who has experience in defending against such allegations. An attorney may be able to challenge the admissibility of some or all of the evidence if the investigating officer made any constitutional errors with the stop. The lawyer might also be able to negotiate a favorable plea for the client.

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