Fake IDs come with real consequences
March 2, 2017
If you think back to your late teens and early 20s – whether you were in college, working your first job or both – you probably remember needing to blow off some steam every once in a while. What better way to do so than to go out on the town with your friends?
Well, not much has changed since then. Young adults still want to hang out with their buddies, but unfortunately, too many do so by acquiring a fake ID and drinking before they’re of age. And that has led to some pretty poor choices, like getting behind the wheel of a car. In fact, from 2011 to 2015 here in Minnesota, underage drinkers accounted for nearly 7,900 DWIs. A heartbreaking 30 of those resulted in fatal crashes, killing 32 people. Thirty-two preventable deaths.
And a 2015 Minnesota College Student Health survey of 10- to 20-year-olds found that nearly 56 percent of them had consumed alcohol in the last month, and 26.5 percent had five or more drinks in one sitting.
What has changed is how authorities are dealing with the problem. Gone are the days when bar owners and their staff looked the other way. Now, Ryan Tucker, general manager of Rounders Sports Bar and Grill in Mankato, estimates his bouncers find more than 30 fake IDs a month during the school year. They’re getting more and more sophisticated, so Tucker is constantly training his staff in recognizing fakes.
And why are Tucker and so many other establishment owners so diligent about this? Because they know they and their employees risk criminal and civil penalties by serving alcohol to those who are underage. And they’re not the only people who face severe consequences: Underage drinkers can lose their driver’s licenses and face criminal charges and inclusion in civil suits if something bad happens, like a car crash. Those who are of age and share their IDs face similar penalties.
Fake IDs are undoubtedly a statewide issue especially around college campuses. The good news is that, as the fakes get more and more sophisticated, authorities get more careful. So whether you’re a bar owner, employee, parent or college student, remember that those who are underage who get access to alcohol risk life-changing consequences.