WASHINGTON, D.C. – In testimony today before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Distilled Spirits Council encouraged the Rhode Island Legislature to pass legislation that would provide for the suspension of driver’s license of individuals under the age of 21 who possess alcohol within a motor vehicle. “Despite significant progress over the past 20 years, underage drinking remains a complex problem that persists in communities across the nation,” said David Wojnar, Vice President of the Distilled Spirits Council, who testified on behalf of the organization. “Effective and enforced penalties, such as the driver’s license suspension for underage drinkers who possess alcohol, are important tools to reducing underage drinking.” Sponsored by Senate President Joseph Montalbano, SB 105 would suspend the driving privileges of individuals under the age of 21 who possess alcohol within a motor vehicle. Suspensions will range from 60 days to one year and the penalties will escalate with multiple offenses. In 2003, there were there were 14 alcohol-related traffic fatalities among people under the age of 21 in Rhode Island, according to statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Young people will think twice about drinking illegally if they know their license will be suspended,” said Wojnar, who pointed to studies that have shown the effectiveness of driver’s license suspension penalties in increasing compliance with State laws and in commanding attention to the consequences of violating these laws. Wojnar stated that the distilled spirits industry has a long history of working with communities to combat underage drinking and drunk driving. He cited as examples the work of The Century Council, a not-for-profit organization funded by America’s leading distillers, which has programs available for communities and parents to reduce underage drinking and drunk driving. For more information, visit www.centurycouncil.org.