REEDSBURG (WKOW) -- A Reedsburg municipal judge convicted a Beloit teenager of drunken driving after the unlicensed boy drove a car earlier this month when he was 15 with a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit.
Judge Sandra Gorsuch entered the teen's conviction Friday when the boy failed to appear in court for a plea hearing.
The boy became a first offense drunk driver on his sixteenth birthday.
The teenager was arrested April 3 in Reedsburg when driving a family friend's car with a blood alcohol level of .17.
The boy was too young to have a valid driver's license.
Gorsuch fined the teen $781. Court officials said a six month driver's license suspension will apply when the boy obtains a valid driver's license, if he obtains one. If the boy drives, he will also have to use an ignition interlock device.
Wisconsin department of transportation statistics show nearly fifty children under the age of sixteen - too young to be eligible to legally drive - were convicted of operating while intoxicated between 2007-2010.
4 Lakes Driver Training School instructor Vicki Etten said many teens training to drive are resistant to standard curriculum on OWI.
"They just know it's against the law, and here's another adult telling them, 'Don't do this.' We want to talk to them about why, what's going to happen after (drunk driving). Because most teens are not thinking about the long term effects and what could really happen."
Etten said training teen drivers are asked to walk a toe-to-toe straight line using goggle eyewear called Terminal Vision to simulate the coordination of someone with a blood alcohol content above Wisconsin's .08 legal limit.
Etten said studies show new, inexperienced drivers with a .05 BAC are seven times more likely to become involved in a fatal crash.
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