L to R: ATF Agent Betty Adaziio, FHP Major Rick Carpenter, Columbia County Sheriff Bill Gootee,
Lake City Police Department Captain Gary Laxton, Fish and Wildlife Commission Captain Roy Brown
listen as students share their concerns on underage drinking.
Major Rick Carpenter, Troop B Commander, recently attended a Project CATCH (Citizens Acting Together for Children) town hall meeting at Columbia High School in Lake City to discuss ways to better get students to
understand the facts about driving under the influence and the dangerous consequences of underage drinking. The CATCH meeting panel included members from The Florida Highway Patrol, Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), Columbia County Sheriff’s Department, Lake City Police Department, and Fish and Wildlife Commission.
Major Carpenter served on a panel of local law enforcement professionals who shared facts pertaining to underage drinking and some of the effects on teenagers and society. He explained the procedures followed by the Florida Highway Patrol when a person under 21 is pulled over for the suspicion of underage drinking or impaired driving. Major Carpenter displayed a portable breath testing instrument (PBT) that is used by troopers to determine if an underage driver has been drinking.
Major Carpenter talks with some students at Columbia High School
about the dangers of drinking and driving.
A panel of students listened as Major Carpenter explained that a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reading of only .02 % on the PBT would result in the teenage driver’s license being administratively suspended on the spot. He went on to stress that it only takes a small amount of alcohol to reach a level of .02%. Further, if the DUI is for a BAC of .051% or higher, the stop could result in a DUI arrest that remains on the teen driver’s license for 75 years, and could cost as much as $12,000 in fees, administrative costs, DUI schools, and higher insurance rates—something many teens do not consider. FHP is committed to strengthening partnerships with local schools, civic groups and organizations that are focused on stopping underage drinking-related crashes.