For designated drivers, a DUI means

“Colleen Plank opinion@buchtelite.com As the semester comes to a close, students prepare for the last week of classes, and more importantly, finals. For most students, as soon as the stress of the end of the semester subsides, the first thing to do is hit the bars and parties.”

As the semester comes to a close, students prepare for the last week of classes, and more importantly, finals.

For most students, as soon as the stress of the end of the semester subsides, the first thing to do is hit the bars and parties. Unfortunately, many of these students leave the bars and parties in a car as the driver.

Drunk driving is far more common than most people realize. If of age, it is true that it is legal to drive with a blood alcohol level of .08. However, many drinkers do not realize their limitations, and just how much alcohol that means. What’s more, many drinkers are not concerned with their limitations. Many students think, Well, my apartment is only a block away. What can it hurt?

It can hurt a lot. Drinking and driving puts all of the other sober drivers on the road at risk, it puts you at risk and it puts your permanent record at risk. A lot of people do not stop drinking and driving until they have gotten a DUI, or worse, been in an alcohol-related traffic accident.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2005, 28 percent of 15 to 20-year-old drivers who were killed in a motor vehicle accident had been drinking. That is an astronomical number and it does not even include college students ages 21-22.

Students should consider alternatives to driving, such as walking, riding the Roo, arranging for a cab or other public transit. Cabs may be expensive, but posting bail is far more expensive than any cab would ever be. In addition, drinkers should plan ahead of time and pick a designated driver. Any real friend would be willing to stay sober for the night and drive home.

The University of Akron and other colleges around the U.S. need to raise more awareness as to just how many college students are drinking and getting behind the wheel of a car. It is more common than people realize. Ask a few students around campus-chances are, most will admit they have driven while intoxicated at least once. There is nothing that is worth the very real and permanent repercussions of driving under the influence, especially not your life or the life of another.