Friday, March 22, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 14


 
 









 

Columnist experiences close call

Jeff Campbell

How many of you have heard the old saying, "Donit drink and drive?" A better question on a college campus would probably be, "How many of
you have gotten drunk and taken off in your car to go to Jack in the Box for those two tacos for 99 cents?"

This column is not meant to lecture anyone. It is meant to inform, which is what students go to a university for anyway.

It was brought to my attention last Saturday, after being hit from behind while stopped at a red light by a car going 45 miles an hour, that it would
a good thing to inform students about the existing dangers of drunk driving.

I donit know how many times I have heard these words come out of a studentis mouth: "I drive better when Iim drunk." What? "I really do." And it
never ceases to frustrate me. 

"You only think you drive better because you are drunk," I generally reply.

Drunk driving is a huge issue, and this is no joke. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 1999, traffic crashes were
the greatest cause of death for people between 6 and 33 years old. And about 45 percent of those fatalities occurred in alcohol-related crashes.

In the accident I was involved in, luckily, there were no severe injuries. The driver of the car that hit me was 17 years old and intoxicated, the
policeman informed me. He got a ride in the back of the police car that night.

People never truly understand the impact of drinking and driving until itis too late. People constantly say they never thought it would happen to
them.

According to the NHTSA, in 2000, the state of Texas had 3,769 total traffic deaths, 1,898 of which were alcohol-related. Thatis 50.4 percent of the
total traffic deaths. Compare that to the national average of 39.8 percent ­ which is still enormous.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been one of the most successful movements in the United States over the past decades. Another
organization, named Students Against Drunk Driving, was formed by students who opposed drunk driving. I urge all of you interested in learning
more information about this movement to look into these organizations.

It is astounding how accepted the practice of drinking and driving is today. It is against the law for a reason, and a very important one at that. It
can claim the lives of innocent victims.

I hadnit done anything wrong Friday night when I was struck by a drunk driver. It could easily have been a more severe accident, and I could
easily have been severely injured. Donit let this or a worse situation happen to you before learning that drinking and driving is wrong.

Campbell, a freshman political 
science major, can be reached at emojeff@yahoo.com.


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