Across the United States, over 25,000 lives have been saved as a result of the minimum legal drinking age of 21. Although it might seem unneccessary to wait until the age of 21 to begin drinking, the age limit is based on research indicating that teens react differently to alcohol than adults. In fact, teens get drunk twice as fast as adults and they have more difficulty knowing when to stop (MADD, n.d).

Zero Tolerance: One Drink is Too Much

Drivers that are under the age of 21 found to have a BAC of 0.02% or higher will have their license immediately suspended for six months. Refusing to submit for DUI testing on the first offense will immediately result in a twelve month suspension. Refusal for a second offense will result in an eighteen month suspension (FLHSMV, n.d).

Keep in Mind: It usually only takes one drink (consumed in an hour) for a 150lb person to reach 0.02% on a DUI test. The 0.02% BAC limit essentially means that you can't have even a single drink and drive (Florida Highway Patrol, n.d).

Underage Drinking Implications

Young drivers that have are working on obtaining their Class E license must have NO moving traffic violation convictions 12 months from the ussue date of the learner's license. Being pulled over for underage drinking will lengthen the time it takes for you to graduate into a regular license. Driver's under 21 that have an alcohol level of 0.05% or higher will be required to attend a substance abuse course. An evaluation of the driver will be completed and the parents or guardians will be notified of the results if the driver is under the age of 19 (FLHSMV, 2014).


MADD. (n.d). "Why 21?"
FLHSMV. (2014). 2014 Florida Driver's Handbook.
FLHSMV. (n.d). Licensing Requirements for Teens - Graduated Driver Licensing.
Florida Highway Patrol. (n.d). Florida Traffic Law Updates.