Mississippi Targets Underage Drinking: Hopes to Curb DUI Car Accidents and Highlight Gaping Loophole in State Law
"According to the U.S. Surgeon General, about 5,000 kids under 21 die every year as a result of underage drinking - from car crashes, homicides, and suicides" and DUI car accidents continue to claim the lives and limbs of young people in Mississippi, according to the Clarion Ledger. Events like graduation and prom seem to create opportunities for intoxication. In fact, when the Mississippi SmartTrack Survey was administered in grades 6 through 11 during the 2007-2008 school year it found that alcohol is the most commonly used drug among Mississippi students. Across all grades surveyed, 34.8% reported past-90-day use and 26% reported 30-day use. For Mississippi car accident attorneys, these are incredibly alarming statistics.
Per The Century Council, there were 37 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in Mississippi in 2009 alone, and 4.1 percent of accidents involved drivers under the age of 21. It's no wonder then, that there are several state-wide campaigns targeting youth. The Mississippi Underage Drinking Prevention Coalition of Hinds County (MUDPC-HC), founded in 2008, launched one of the most recent campaigns, designed to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors. With posters featuring messages like "Alcohol is not the only way to have fun" at the center of their movement, the organization professes to be a collaboration between three free-standing prevention programs: Jackson State University's Metro Jackson Community Prevention Coalition and Interdisciplinary Alcohol and Drugs Studies Center, and Alcohol Services Center, Inc. Metro Jackson Community Prevention Coalition. Its goal is to reduce alcohol usage and related consequences to include alcohol-related motor crashes, binge drinking and drinking among youth between the ages of 11-21 in Hinds County, Mississippi.