Keep Your Community Safe

Keep Your Community Safe
Frequently Asked Questions
Recommended Laws
Effective College Strategies
Legal Drinking Age: Why 21

Underage drinking hurts more than individual teens and their families. It affects the entire community.

Fortunately, your community can play a vital role in preventing the problem. Traci L. Toomey, Ph.D., an alcohol researcher at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, suggests the following steps:

Step 1: Support strong laws and legislation
Tell local and state lawmakers that you want to cut off youth access to alcohol.2 Encourage programs that

  • Identify and penalize retailers that illegally sell alcohol to youth.
  • Require registration and tracking of beer kegs.
  • Support social host laws that penalize adults who enable underage drinking parties.
  • Limit new or renewed liquor licenses in your community.

Step 2: Push for strong enforcement
Press law enforcement officials and judicial authorities to actively enforce laws and programs that fight underage drinking. For example

  • Any time there is a traffic crash involving an underage drinker, ask officials to find out how the youths got the alcohol, then hold whoever gave or sold it to them accountable. 2
  • Support enforcement actions against youth who use fake IDs to purchase alcohol.

Step 3: Involve educators
Contact your local schools and colleges and ask what they’re doing to minimize underage drinking.

Step 4: Hold advertisers accountable
When you see alcohol marketing that targets young people, complain and push to have that advertising be removed. 2

Read more about the impact of marketing on young people here.

Keep our streets safe.
Enforce zero tolerance.

Learn about:


1. Bingham, C. Raymond; Shope, Jean; Parow, Julie; Raghunathan, Trivellore. Crash risk among teen drivers: Identification and prediction of excess risk. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, Ann Arbor, MI (UMTRI-2007-13). November 2007. Read more

2. Bonnie, Richard J. and O'Connell, Mary Ellen (Editors) Reducing Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility, Committee on Developing a Strategy to Reduce and Prevent Underage Drinking, Board on Children, Youth, and Families, National Research Council (2004) Read more

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance — United States, 2007.” Surveillance Summaries, June 6, 2008 / Vol. 57 / No. SS-4. Read more

4. Compton, Richard P. and Ellison-Potter, Patricia. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Teen Driver Crashes: A Report to Congress” (DOT HS 811 005) Read more

5. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Beginning Teenager Drivers.” Read more


One Mother’s Anger

— Mother of a 15-year-old
girl who died from riding
with an underage drunk driver

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