College students are always trying new things. Parties left and right, meeting new people and sometimes trusting our friends or fellow students a little too much.
Over 1.1 million drivers were arrested in 2014 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.
According to a survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHA), 60 percent of college students ages 18-22 drank alcohol in the past month. Among these students, almost 2 out of 3 of them engaged in binge drinking.
Any beverage consumed over a period of time has the ability to cause impairment. A specific drink will not affect the nature of impairment, but rather the amount of time and individual’s own limit of absorption. The strength of a drink however, will help contribute to the rate of absorption in the bloodstream.
According to the University of Notre Dome’s Student Well-Being McDonald Center, absorption rates of alcohol are determined by weight, gender, the amount of food and non-alcoholic beverages consumed beforehand, strength of drink, mood, rate of consumption overtime, tolerance, medications, illnesses, fatigue and alcohol expectancy.
Gender plays a large role, along with a person’s body type. Since men are naturally more muscular then women, a 140 lb. male can drink two drinks in one hour and his blood alcohol level would be at .038. A female at the same weight and drinking the same amount, over the same time frame would have a blood alcohol level of .048.
Since women have less dehydrogenase, an enzyme in the stomach, which breaks down alcohol, their BAC level, will naturally be higher than a male in the same situation. Hormone levels also place a role in the body’s ability to process alcohol. Pre-menstruation is another cause of women experiencing higher BACs. Since alcohol causes dehydration, women will also be affect at a greater rate because they already have a lower percentage of water and higher percentage of body fat.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMH) conducted a survey on Drug Use and Health in 2013 and concluded that the rate of drunk driving is highest among 26 to 29 year olds at a rate of 20.7 percent. A similar survey also conducted by SAMH found that roughly 28.7 million people drove under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past year.
After someone has consumed alcohol, the decisions they make will be impaired and generally are not ones that would be made if the person were 100 percent sober. Many people have the “Oh I’ll be fine” mentality without really realizing the consequences.
Consequences of drinking can affect people of all ages, their families, and their communities. In reports of college students between the ages of 18 and 24, about 1,285 college students die from unintential alcohol-related injuries, about 696,000 students are assaulted by another student who has been drinking, and about 97,000 students report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
“If you drink, you shouldn’t drive. If you’re under the influence of anything you shouldn’t drive,” said Jared Hladycz, a nursing major at Edinboro University. Hladycz mentioned that he has let his friends drive him while they were under the influence at least three times.
According to The Students’ Center of Health at West Virginia University (WELLWVU), approximately 600,000 college students are injured under the influence of alcohol, many of which are automobile-related.
Sarah West, a freshman at Edinboro University, explained her first encounter with allowing someone who was over the legal limit drive them home from a party.
“We got in the car, he was trying to be a smartass and pulled an e-brake on a turn. My friend smashed her head into the window when we hit the turn and glass shattered everywhere onto us.” She does not remember the rest of that night.
Did you know, every year 2,100,000-college students will drive while intoxicated? Defense Matters.com stated that 28 percent of all DUI accidents involve young people between the ages of 16 and 24.
“I have let friends drive me and I regret it,” Hladycz said very seriously before mentioning he now realizes his mistake and the effects it could have caused to him and his friends. He also mentioned that in one of the instances, he did not know the impaired individual who was escorting him.
“It is not something I would like to do again,” he added.
1 in 3 drivers who were killed in 2009, tested positive for drugs, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH). WELLWVU stated that over 40 percent of all fatal auto accidents are alcohol-related.
These statistics show that alcohol and drug usage can cause serious problems behind the wheel and can claim some people their life.
In their lifetime, almost 30 percent of all Americans will be associated with an alcohol related car crash according to (WELLWVU). The National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that an estimated 9.9 million people over the age of 12 reported driving under the influence of illegal and misused drugs in 2012.
After considering what they would do if their friends were involved in an alcohol-related accident, Hladycz and West pondered the idea.
“That would be terrible, I don’t know how I would feel about that. I’ve never let my friends get that bad,” said Hladycz nervously.
West added that she doesn’t know how she’d feel if one of her friends was involved in an accident.
Did you know that every two minutes a person is injured in a drunk driving crash? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety administration, over the past twenty years, roughly 40 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities happened when the driver or passenger has consumed a decent amount of alcohol before getting in the car. In 86 percent of these situations, someone has met or passed the legal definition for intoxication or impairment.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 9,967 people died in drunk driving crashes, one happening every 53 minutes. This amounts to 31 percent of total traffic fatalities for the year. An additional 290,000 individuals were injured in drunk driving crashes. All of which involved a driver with a BAC level of .08 g/dl or higher.
The NHTSA also found that the rate of fatalities that occurred during the week was at 16 percent. The amount of drunk driving fatalities, which occurred on weekends, was 13 percent more (29 percent-total).
Although the cost of a single DUI (Driving Under the Influence-ticket) varies from state by state, the range of spendage on such fines, impound fees, a DUI treatment program and insurance increases adds up to around $4,000-$5,000. The question is, are you ready to spend that much on ONE incident?
Money is not the only cost someone will pay after being convicted of a DUI. Most applications of employment ask you to disclose convictions such as this and may also prevent you from joining the military or getting a government or civil service job.
Protection is possible and there are steps that can insure that an individual does not get behind the wheel. Such measures include:
-offering to be a designated driver
-before drinking, appoint someone to be a designated driver to collect all keys
-avoid driving to parties or events where drugs or alcohol will be present
-discuss the risks involved with driving under the influence with friends and other loved ones in advance
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and alcoholism recommends that the most general and effective interventions in College Alcohol Intervention Matrix (CollegeAIM), a guide for intervention resources, are counseling options and policies related to sales and access. For more information on college drinking prevention please visit www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/CollegeAIM.