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Pennsylvania Youth Drinking and Driving Less Frequently

A recent report from the State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup (SEOW) indicates there is a downward trend in alcohol use, drunk driving and alcohol-related arrests among Pennsylvania minors.

The numbers in the report indicate that from 2011 through 2015, the rates of drinking among 12- to 17-year-olds declined by 18 to 20 percent. These numbers came before the 2017 implementation of Act 39, which added further privatizing elements to alcohol licensing in the state and allowed wine-to-go sales in convenience stores and restaurants. The panel put the report together after prior evidence suggested a link existed between legislation expanding liquor sales, levels of alcohol consumption and health risk factors.

To determine how many teens drink regularly, the panel investigated how many teens reported using alcohol in the 30-day period before the survey. The panel also collected data on crashes involving underage drinkers from 2010 and 2016, finding a 41 percent decline over that period. Public drunkenness arrests also decreased dramatically during, as did rates of school expulsions due to drug or alcohol use.

Encouraging trends

State officials are pleased by this downward trend, and the evidence indicates that they will continue for the foreseeable future. There is some concern that establishments capitalizing on new liquor laws in Pennsylvania could once again cause an uptick in teen drinking, but right now fewer teens are choosing to drink and, as such, are not getting into legal trouble or causing accidents.

For more information on the changing liquor laws in Pennsylvania or the steps to take if your child has been charged with an underage drinking offense, contact an experienced Reading attorney with David R. Eshelman: A Professional Corporation.


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