Northwest Missourian Opinion

For years people have been told about the negative consequences that can come about from people driving impaired. This has been something that has been stressed over and over, and it will continue to be shared until some real change is made and a stop is put to those who drive while impaired.

Especially today there should be no reason for people to make the choice to get behind the wheel and drive while impaired as there are many options available that are dedicated to helping get students and people home safely after a day or night out. We now have a lot of services off campus like Uber and Lyft to pick up and drop people off, so they aren’t the ones driving.

On campus at Northwest, we have the Safe Ride program available which is organized by campus police to help keep students safe when going out. Student safety is one of the biggest priorities of the University, and because of that, they have a shuttle service available during the day and taxi service available at night to pick up students, no questions asked. This is a safe option for students, and it gives them the comfort of knowing that they don’t have to risk driving drunk because they have another option.

Students may be hesitant to call Safe Ride in fear of possibly getting in trouble from the University, but that just isn’t the case. The University’s biggest priority is to get all of its students back home safe and in classes the next day. There is also a stigma around Uber and whether it is safe or not, but Uber makes each driver go through extensive background checks to ensure that all of its customers are in the best hands.

According to the U.S Department of Transportation, about 28 people died from drunk driving crashes each day in 2019. That means there were 10,142 deaths because of drunk driving. In 2019, the death rate was the lowest it had been since 1982, but even with all of the new resources available to people, over 10,000 people still lost their lives from crashes that were preventable.

Federal data indicated that people between the ages of 21-24 account for one-third of drivers arrested for DWI. If you are of age to drink or not, that still does not make it acceptable to drive while intoxicated. Many people make a personal choice to drive while under the influence, but it doesn’t just affect them. In 2017, 32% of those who died in alcohol-related car crashes were passengers.

In life, everything has a ripple effect, and that is definitely the case when there is any kind of accident. Not only is the person who caused the accident affected but so are the passengers, anyone who was hurt, as well as the families, friends and community that surrounds those people. Everyone’s lives matter, and creating a situation where you could hurt others creates a big pool of people that will then forever be affected by that one poor choice that someone made. Just because they made it home doesn’t mean it’s always a guarantee.

In 2018, we lost a fellow Northwest student, Morgan McCoy, due to someone who was driving while intoxicated. As a result, a 19-year-old girl’s life ended when The Palms was struck by the vehicle that was driven into the building. The driver was of age to drink, and he might have thought he was okay to drive, but it doesn’t take much to lose control of the car. The effect from this terrible accident went both ways, a life was lost and that is the most tragic part, but the man that now must live with that mistake is also affected. 

We no longer live in a time where there aren’t options to find a safe way home. Now, we have many options.

With today’s new innovative ways and safe pickup services, there is no excuse for students or anyone to drive under the influence of anything. At the end of the night, protect yourself and your friends. There are many options, you can call a sober friend or walk home with a group. Safe Ride is also a great resource that you can call at 660-562-1245; all you have to do is call and set up a time that you want to be picked up, and they will come get you for free. Another option is you can split the cost with friends and go to the Uber app to set up a safe ride home that way. Protect yourself and others around you by making a responsible decision of saying no to impaired driving.

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