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California Motor Vehicle Code 23136

Preliminary Alcohol Screening Tests for People Under 21

Drunk driving is a serious offense, and a consistent problem in California. According to Century Council data, there were 950 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2009, 156 of which involved persons under the age of 21.

Vehicle Code 23136 addresses this issue. The law states that any person who drives a motor vehicle may be subject to a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test, including drivers under the age of 21. The purpose of the test is to find the driver's blood alcohol content (BAC) and, for drivers over the age of 21, to determine if the driver is over the .08 percent BAC limit. Drivers under the age of 21, for whom drinking is illegal, found to have a BAC of .01 percent will be prosecuted under this law for underage drinking and driving under the influence.

Over or under 21 years of age, drivers who are found to be over the limit will be prosecuted, with punishment increasing in severity for higher blood alcohol contents. License suspension is immediate for drivers found to be driving under the influence, and may be restricted for a period of one to three years.

Underage drinking is a problem in itself, but driving under the influence is especially dangerous as it puts the lives of other people at risk. All drivers, regardless of age, must be responsible or they will lose the privilege.

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