Alcohol is the main beverage for parties and special occasions in the United States. Many people decide to drink alcohol because it helps them relax, ease tension and socializing. Even most non-drinkers are forced to drink alcohol because of peer pressure. Hebert Moskowitz, the president of the Southern California Research Institute in Los Angeles, concedes that “alcohol has been so popular these days; it seems as though alcohol is a requirement for parties” (Moskowitz, 13). Unfortunately, most UNM students do not know their limits for alcohol consumption. By the time a party is over, they fail to realize that they had one too many drinks and they decide to drink and drive. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety and Administration (NHTSA), in 2009 there were approximately 10,839 reported student drunk driving fatalities. Even though the number of alcohol-related crashes decreases every year, driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol should not be underestimated. Approximately every twenty-two minutes, one in every fifty American drunk drivers crashes due to alcohol (NHTSA, 2009). Many UNM students under the influence of alcohol do not understand the consequences as they get into their car. It is our duty as students to take action against student drunk drivers, in order to make our campus and roads safer. The solution is simple. As students, we need to be re-educate UNM students about DUI and petition to ask the Government of New Mexico for harsher penalties against drunk drivers.
There have been many awareness campaigns, such as the current, “You Drink, You Drive, You Lose Campaign.” Many campaigns have tried to let UNM students understand the dangers of drinking while driving. However, many students still continue to drink and drive (NHTSA, 1999). It seems as though these messages don’t grab their attention. Ironically the people who are actually losing are the innocent pedestrians or sober drivers who die while the students under the influence live on or easily off the hook. There have been many records of supreme court cases in New Mexico where drunk drivers are not being charged for DUI such as: State v. Lizzol, 2006; State v. Arroyos, 2005; Sanchez v. Kirby, 2001; State v. Wenger, 1999, etc. Each and every one of these cases resulted in the court dismissing the charges for no reason.
Usually if a person is arrested and sent to jail for DUI there is a high chance that the exact same person will drink and drive again; this time he or she may take the life of one of your own family member (Moskowitz, 12). I believe many students continue to drink and drive because they think they are able to get away with it. Many students believe if they are able to get away with it once, they will believe they can get away with it twice. Numerous UNM students believe that they won’t get into an accident because they believe are responsible and won’t hurt anyone, but they are wrong because alcohol impairs judgment and reaction time.