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
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
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.