On Wednesday, we began discussing the spike in alcohol-related fatalities for people under the age of 21 during prom and graduation season. Parents, however, need to remember to practice what they preach. In Ohio, adults who enable underage drinking on their property can face severe consequences.
Adults who enable underage drinking that occurs on property under their control can face penalties including six months in jail and fines of up to $1,000. Furthermore, under Ohio’s social host law, parents can be held liable for any injury or damage caused by a teenager who has been permitted to drink alcohol in their home. Regardless of whether the adults were present or not, the homeowners are legally responsible for any alcohol consumption that occurs in their home by anyone under age 21.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) notes that traffic crashes are the number one killer of teenagers (15-20 years old), and 31 percent of teen traffic deaths are alcohol-related. The organization also notes that a 2005 study of teenagers between 13 and 18 conducted by the American Medical Association (AMA) found that:
- 2 out of 3 teens said it was easy to get alcohol
- 1 in 3 said it was easy to get alcohol from their own consenting parents
- 2 out of 5 said it was easy to get alcohol from a friend’s parents
- 1 in 4 said they’d attended a party where people under 21 were drinking in front of parents
MADD notes, “Well-meaning parents often host drinking parties on behalf of their children, either in the belief they can control the amount of alcohol a teen consumes or because they consider teen drinking inevitable and that their supervision can ensure the safety of the children involved.” We would hope that adults all over Ohio look at the possible consequences of hosting such parties and recognize that the risks far outweigh any perceived rewards.
Moore Law Firm – Cincinnati injury lawyers