As high school and college students head south to celebrate Spring Break, it is important they be reminded that Spring Break is not a free-for-all and one mistake can have lasting consequences. While it is unlikely that alcohol will be taken out of the Spring Break equation anytime soon, limiting excessive consumption can prevent serious injury and death.
The Journal of American College Health estimates that while on Spring Break, the average male consumes 18 alcoholic beverages per day, while the average female consumes 10 alcoholic beverages per day. What is particularly risky about alcohol consumption during Spring Break is that students tend to consume larger amount of alcohol in shorter time spans than they normally would.
Almost 1,700 college students each year die as the result of alcohol misuse. This number continues to increase each year. These deaths are often the result of drunk or impaired drivers, falls, drowning, homicide, suicide, and alcohol poisoning. Thousands more students are injured or sexually assaulted while on Spring Break. As many as 600,000 alcohol-related assaults are reported among college-age students each year. Further, another study showed that while on Spring Break, 58% of frequent binge drinkers were injured, while 58% had trouble with law enforcement.
Laws prohibit providing alcohol to minors and those who do provide alcohol to minors may be liable for injuries sustained by the minor or caused to others due to the minor’s actions, as well as criminally responsible. Further, “dram shop” laws, which vary by state, provide that social hosts are usually not liable for injuries caused by an intoxicated guest, unless the host was reckless in serving alcohol. Those in the business of selling alcohol can be liable for damage in certain circumstances, such as selling to an obviously intoxicated customer, selling to minors, failing to check for identification, and for selling after hours.
Parents should remind their Spring Breakers that it is okay to have fun, but getting caught up in the excitement of Spring Break and excessive alcohol consumption can lead to consequences that may impact the rest of their lives.