It’s not worth it: Prevent drunken driving

Gwen Ueding | Cartoonist

By The Editorial Board

Last weekend, the cold reality of drunken driving gripped the Baylor community only five minutes off campus. While it isn’t the leading cause of car accidents, it is the most deadly, and sadly, it’s usually one of the most avoidable.

Instead of seeing this story fade out of the Baylor community’s minds over the next couple of days, we need to understand that this tragedy is also a time for us to remember that this could affect anyone. Take this opportunity to realize the present dangers of drunken driving. Denormalize having a drink and getting behind the wheel in the same night.

It’s not worth it.

In 2020, 11,654 people died in alcohol-impaired driving traffic deaths. That’s 32 people dying every day due to intoxicated driving. Forty-two percent of all alcohol-impaired drivers two years prior were between the ages of 16 and 24, meaning almost half of all deaths as a result of drunken driving were caused by people our age.

It’s important to understand that while those statistics are important, what happened last weekend wasn’t just another number.

If you’re contemplating if you’re “good to drive” or not, odds are you don’t need to walk in a line or stand on one foot to know that you’re not. On average, after one drink, your judgment is already impaired. After two drinks, muscle coordination becomes poor, and it’s more difficult to detect danger. After three drinks, thinking is slowed, and there is a clear loss of reaction time and control.

It only takes two to three drinks for the average person to reach a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08%, which can then land you with a DWI. If you’re under 21, anything above 0% BAC is illegal, and you can be charged with a DUI.

Maybe you’ve “done it a million times,” and “it’ll be fine.” Get pulled over for something as simple as speeding with even a .09%, and you’re risking your entire future.

Drinking and driving affects more people than most realize. It puts everyone in the car in danger, not only the driver. It puts each of those people’s families at risk of getting a call that their loved one has been in an accident. It puts anyone on the road in danger of being hit by the drunken driver.

When there are multiple parties going on at once, the roads fill with people walking and driving to get to them. If a driver is unfocused — drinking or not — they could very easily hit someone and seriously injure them.

As students, we forget that we don’t all live in the Baylor bubble. Most of us live right next door to families, who we also put in danger when we drive recklessly. Waco is already a dangerous enough place to drive.

Come up with a plan before you even have the opportunity to drink. Have a designated driver and hold them accountable. Get an Uber instead of driving yourself; if you go in on an $8 Uber with three friends, you only have to pay $2 each.

Is your future worth risking over $2?

If you have trouble saying no to alcohol, Baylor’s Beauchamp Addiction Recovery Center will help you before you cause serious harm to yourself or those around you.

Lariat News Editor Ana Ruiz Brictson, one of the reporters covering the fatal accident from Sept. 17, is a part of the Editorial Board but was not a part of this editorial​.