This archived article was written by: Marsha Jensen
Drinkers of the world … throw your keys out the window and let someone else drive. Those who don’t drink, show this to your friends that do.
With car accidents on the rise, the leading cause is alcohol related. Every 12 to 15 minutes, someone dies due to drunk driving.
Recently at Carbon High School, College of Eastern Utah theatre students assisted the high school students by applying realistic makeup as they participated in a simulated car crash at the school. Gory makeup and blood were smeared on faces and arms; one young man looked as though one of his femurs had a compound fracture Each student was made to seem as though they were involved in a severe accident. Volunteer highway patrol officers and emergency personnel attended the scene, as well as Fausett’s Mortuary.
During the day, a student playing the Grim Reaper pulled students out of class. Then an officer came to inform his/her classmates the student was killed in a drunk driving accident.
Later the students attended an assembly or “funeral” for their fallen friends. Parents of the deceased children stood up and read their child’s “obituary.” The program “Every 15 Minutes … ” takes place all across the U.S. in an effort to help prevent the devastation of losing a loved one to drunk driving. And the scary part? According to 2006 driving statistics, in a family of five: one member of the family will either cause or fall victim to an accident involving alcohol.
Want to hear something even scarier? According to new highway traffic safety statistics, 47 percent of accidents are caused by teen alcohol abuse. That means that nearly half of alcohol-related car accidents each year are caused by teens under the age of 19 who aren’t even allowed to buy alcohol. How does this affect you, a college student and more responsible drinker than high school kids?
You could fall victim to one of these accidents. The growing epidemic of alcohol abuse has reached alarming numbers. With the most recent numbers coming from 2006, one in 10 teens between the ages of 12 and 13 drink alcohol at least once a month.
Also in one year, 522 under the age of 14 were arrested for driving while under the influence (113 of them were under 10 years. old). Now, you’re asking yourself, “How do kids that young even get alcohol” and “who in their right mind would let them get behind a wheel?” Usually older siblings and parents themselves provide the alcohol, all in the mindset of letting someone else have a good time. Unfortunately when a person is in their teens, they go through a long phase of “invincibility.” Everyone goes through it, the sense of being able to handle anything. This feeling is only intensified as the teens turn 16 and get their driver’s license.
But it’s not just the younger kids who get in cars. Think about the last party you went to. How many people ended up driving home drunk? Although older drinkers tend to know their limitations, they still get the feeling of “I can handle this.” Actions such as these are why there are so many accidents. Even though you may have been drinking for years and know your limit, even one drink can inhibit the mind’s ability to reason. Although your blood-alcohol content may be below the legal level, other distractions such as loud music, drunk friends in the car and driving fast to get home from a late night, all spell disaster.
Now this isn’t aimed at getting people to stop drinking. Drinking is a social lubricant that helps people get to know each other when in any other instance they wouldn’t have. Thousands of happily married couples met at a drinking party; but think of the consequences that are set as soon as you get behind that wheel. Yes, you may be late for your curfew. But it’s more certain that your parents or boss would rather get a call from you saying that you were too drunk to drive home than from a police officer telling them you died while driving drunk. Think about it.
Another concern is getting a Driving Under the Influence (DUI). No one wants to get arrested for drunk driving and no one wants that on their record when you are trying to get a job; not to mention all the fines that get slapped on along with it. Did you know you are four times more likely to crash and be killed or injured than you are to be arrested for a DUI. So if you’re worried about getting caught drunk, think again. More than likely you’ll end up in the hospital; either in the emergency room or on a table in the morgue.
There’s only one choice to make- don’t drink and drive. It’s stupid, irresponsible, and you are not only endangering yourself but all the other drivers on the road.
No one wants to be responsible for killing someone’s loved one, a good friend or themselves. The next time you end up at a party and someone says that they need to get home, take their keys or ask someone to be a designated driver before you start drinking. More than likely there will be someone willing to give up one night of drinking than a lifetime because they were too drunk to drive.
Which will it be? Will you be the one taking the keys away or the one putting the keys in the ignition?