Underage drinking is a serious problem in North Carolina. According to a survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control, approximately 341,000 underage consumers drink alcohol each year in North Carolina. In fact, there were 41 traffic fatalities associated with underage drinking in 2009 alone and nearly 1,700 nonfatal traffic injuries. Underage drinking also has been estimated to cost the citizens of North Carolina nearly $1.5 billion in medical care, lost work and pain and suffering.
In addition to the human toll that underage drinking can have on a community, there are also significant legal ramifications for those caught drinking and driving under the age of majority. The Zero Tolerance Law in North Carolina makes it illegal for any person under the age of 21 to drink and drive. Any blood alcohol content reading over 0.00 percent is sufficient evidence for a criminal conviction in North Carolina. It is also considered sufficient evidence if there is an odor of alcohol and the driver refuses to under blood alcohol content testing.