If you’ve got a child taking one of the family cars to college this fall, you’ve likely warned them of the dangers of drinking and driving – even if they’re not yet old enough to legally drink. It’s all too easy to find alcohol on just about every college campus.
While you’re at it, it’s important to talk about the dangers of mixing caffeinated energy drinks with alcohol. That’s something that people of all ages – but especially younger people – do all the time. If your child spends the evening at a party drinking, but they’ve got a paper due in the morning, they may down a couple of cans of Red Bull, Prime, Monster or whatever’s handy to help them stay up all night.
While the caffeine in the drink can perk your child up, it can also make them feel less intoxicated – and better able to drive when they’re in no condition to because their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is well over even the adult legal limit of .08%. Mississippi’s “zero tolerance” underage limit is just .02%
Less awareness of how much someone has had to drink
While the government has tried to regulate the amount of caffeine in these drinks, some brands have considerably more than others. Any of them can be strong enough to lessen a person’s awareness of just how much alcohol they’ve consumed. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), “Consumers – particularly young, inexperienced drinkers – may not realize how much alcohol they have consumed because caffeine can mask the sense of intoxication.” If your teen starts alternating alcoholic drinks with energy drinks – or mixing the two – it’s easy to lose track of just how much alcohol is in their system because they won’t feel it the same way they would if they were only consuming alcohol.
The bottom line is that if an officer pulls your child over for suspicion of drunk driving, they don’t care how “wide awake” they might seem and feel. If your child is facing a DUI charge, it might be tempting to let them “learn their lesson” and deal with the consequences on their own. However, those consequences can derail their college education and follow them for many years to come. Therefore, it’s best to make sure they have legal guidance to help protect their rights and their future.