Driving impaired: Is it worth the risks?

KRYSTAL DODGE | thorn008@rangers.uwp.edu


I think everyone can recall a time when they were affected either directly or indirectly by someone driving impaired. As a young child, my cousin lost his life in a car accident. The impaired driver was my uncle. Impaired driving can tear apart families and destroy lives.  According to data from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), “every two minutes a person is injured in a drunk driving related car accident.”

Alcohol, drugs, prescription medications, and sleep deprivation are all causes of impaired driving. The Department of Transportation (DOT) outlines the Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) law on their website. The law is written to cover a variety of intoxicants and even prescription medication are considered a cause of OWI.

Make a plan

There are a lot of resources available to individuals in the community and on campus. First, let us talk about how to get home safely if you are impaired. You should have a designated driver and make arrangements in advance. We all know that sometimes that does not happen.

What can you do then? There are plenty of options. You can call a taxi, Uber, Lyft, or even someone you know. The bottom line is that you should make a plan and not endanger your life or the life of others because of unfortunate circumstances.

There are also a number of establishments that participate in the “SafeRide” program. This program provides free or cheap rides home. They are listed on the Tavern league of Wisconsin’s website, and you can also inquire at the facility you are at. Don’t be afraid to call a friend or family member if you need a way home. They would much rather get that call than get a call saying you were involved in a car accident.

Addressing addiction

Sometimes there are bigger problems than simply getting home safely. People can develop an alcohol or drug addiction. We have resources right here at UW- Parkside to help with this issue. The Student Health & Counseling Center provides professional, licensed counselors who are also Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse counselors for UW-Parkside students. The Student Health & Counseling Center is in the building east of Tallent Hall. For questions or to make an appointment please call 262-595-2366.

There are also programs within the community that provide support groups, counseling, and rehabilitation. You can call National Rehab at 855-335-9114 for assistance in finding local programs. You can also go through any emergency room to get help. There is an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) District Seven meeting, every third Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m. It is held at the Kenosha Alano Club located at 630 56th street in Kenosha. There are many ways to get help. As AA says, “I have found that the process of discovering who I really am begins with knowing who I really don’t want to be.”

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