Part of being a young college student is going out to parties, having fun with friends and, at times, overindulging in alcoholic beverages. But sometimes the latter activity can lead to one of the worst decisions a person can make: getting behind the wheel while drunk.
In 2011, there were 10,698 alcohol-related car crashes according to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) website.
This is the most preventable form of injury or death that can occur among college students. According to MADD, almost 30 percent of all fatalities in car crashes in our state can be attributed to alcohol. And all you have to do to prevent this is to not get behind the wheel.
Could you live with yourself if it was your choice that ended someone’s life? That’s what drinking and driving is – a choice.
If you hit a patch of ice while driving, causing the car to go off the road, and someone dies from that, then it was an accident. But if you chose to get behind the wheel of a two-ton death machine while knowingly intoxicated, it is totally your fault.
More often, it’s the passengers of the car that get injured or die in a drunk driving accident. According to the Pennsylvania Driving Under the Influence Association, “90 percent of the alcohol-related occupant deaths (drivers and passengers) were in the vehicle driven by the drinking driver.” By drinking and driving you are not only putting your life in danger, but also you are putting the lives of those you are driving in peril.
On the night of Oct. 11, a DWI checking station on University City Blvd. – right down the road from campus – resulted in 12 DWI charges and three open container charges. Keep in mind that this was only one night, on one stretch of road, in only a four-hour period. Even if you’re being safe on the road, who’s to say everyone else is?
At our school there are a numerous ways to avoid getting into trouble with the law for drinking and driving, or worse, potentially ending someone’s life in the process. Many of the clubs downtown send party busses to the school on their college nights for a guaranteed sober ride to the club and back home. There are also numerous cab services that make the rounds downtown, ready for you to flag them down.
But it is more than just the availability of services. You always need to be prepared. Always have a designated driver; this is a simple and obvious way to avoid getting in trouble and potentially getting hurt. And besides, if you’re the designated driver, you will be the one that remembers all the stupid things that your friends did. Throughout the night and the next day, you can laugh about their drunken antics. The hangover they experience in the morning will be punishment enough for their drinking; they shouldn’t pay for it with their lives.