In last week’s issue of the Missourian, the blotters section of the paper recorded three cases of alleged drunk drivers in Maryville — and these were only the ones who were caught. The loss of a student to a drunk driver shouldn’t be what it takes for us to pull together and shut down those who choose to drink and drive, but if we don’t do something now then these numbers will only grow.
To the surprise of many, it’s not incredibly difficult to stop a friend or party guest from driving with alcohol in their system. Even more surprising, the only solution isn’t taking the keys of someone who is drunk.
We need to come together, not only as a town, but as Bearcats, and realize second-party driving alternatives like Safe Ride exist specifically to avoid drunk students from getting on the roads. We pay for it in our tuition, so ignoring it does double the damage.
Furthermore, with rumors of third-party driving services like Uber making their way to Maryville, soon there won’t be an excuse for drunk driving.
Again, we have to remember choosing not to drink and drive isn’t something solely up to one person; it’s up to the friends we choose to drink with too. Designated drivers are not the least drunk members of the group, they are the ones who are completely sober. The only thing worse than a drunk driver is a drunk designated driver.
The University is doing everything it can to combat more accidents on campus by offering things like Safe Ride and soft drinks to designated drivers, and it is up to us to help.
Even beyond the University is campus Greek Life. Some sororities and fraternities offer their own version of Safe Ride where members can reach out to their sisters or brothers for a ride. Perhaps it is time students outside of Greek Life attempt the same thing. Maybe what our campus needs is a student organization committed to ensuring fellow Bearcats make it home safe and sound.
Somewhere else Bearcats can direct their anti-drunk driving efforts is the root of the problem: the drinking. It isn’t about taking away alcohol, it’s just about offering alternatives.
It is easy to look at three DWIs and write it off as something inevitable, or out of our control. It’s a pitfall that is not easily avoided, but a pitfall nonetheless.
Imagine each of these drunk drivers, this time, with a name next to it. Not the name of the driver, or the officer who reported the driver. No, put the name of a friend, family member or loved one next to the drunk driver and mark them off as a casualty of ‘involuntary manslaughter.’ This is what many Bearcats had to do two weekends ago.
If we can’t agree to check up on our designated drivers or our friends who choose to drink, then we are only letting the dice roll more and more.