As parents and guardians say goodbye to their children heading to college, or area residents welcome students back to schools, our thoughts turn to college students, the cars they drive and the risky behaviors that could cause accidents.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Use and Alcoholism (NIAAA) – College Fact Sheet, the majority of students come to college already having some experience with alcohol. Certain aspects of college life, such as unstructured time, the widespread availability of alcohol, inconsistent enforcement of underage drinking laws, and limited interactions with parents and other adults, can intensify the problem of college drinking. In fact, college students have higher binge-drinking rates and a higher incidence of driving under the influence of alcohol than their non-college peers.
What are the consequences of college drinking reported by NIAAA?
- Death: 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries.
- Assault: More than 690,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
- Sexual Abuse: More than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
- Injury: 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 receive unintentional injuries while under the influence of alcohol.
- Health Problems/Suicide Attempts: More than 150,000 students develop an alcohol-related health problem, and between 1.2 and 1.5 percent of students indicate that they tried to commit suicide within the past year due to drinking or drug use.
Drinking & Driving
Drinking and driving endangers the safety of not only the drinking driver and passengers, but also other individuals on the road. College students have limited driving experience, making the drinking and driving possibly even more hazardous, according to Science Daily.
In Florida the consequences of a first DUI arrest and conviction are:
- Your license will be suspended for a period of time.
- You may have to participate in a treatment program.
- You may even have to spend a weekend in jail.
But even for first offenders, DUI laws and penalties were made tougher in all states in December 2007 (9 years ago). These tougher measures:
- Made 21 the legal drinking age
- Passed Zero Tolerance laws prohibiting drivers under 21 from having any measurable alcohol in their system
- Lowered the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for adults from .1 to .08
The failure or refusal to take a breathalyzer test has increased consequences. Nearly two-thirds of all states now allow arresting officers to confiscate drivers’ licenses on the spot.
Penalties for repeat offenders are also getting tougher. If you get a second or third DUI conviction, you will likely face:
- Mandatory jail time
- Longer license suspension
- Larger fines
Even hardship licenses for driving back and forth to work are hard to get these days. Most states now have Habitual Violator laws, which require felony convictions for three DUI convictions. Three-time losers can lose their driver’s license permanently and can even lose basic civil rights such as the right to vote says WestVirginiaUniversity.edu.
Underage drinking is a complex problem, requiring cooperation at all levels of society. Four basic approaches reported by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence have proven to be effective in prevention of the problem:
- Changing cultural misconceptions and behaviors about alcohol use through education;
- Curtailing the availability of alcohol to young people under age 21;
- Consistent enforcement of existing laws and regulations regarding alcohol purchase;
- Expanded access to treatment and recovery support services for adolescents and their families.
“Drinking on college and university campuses is a subject covered every time school reopens and every time there is another accident. This is so important to the safety of students and others with whom they are in contact that we want to remind students to behave responsibly and not drink and drive,” said Fort Myers Hurt By Drunk Driver Attorney, Randall Spivey of Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. “If you or a loved one is injured in an accident caused by a DUI driver, contact our firm of experienced attorneys. There are no costs or attorney fees until you win.”
Hurt By Drunk Driver Attorney, Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys. He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida. For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839,or by email to Randall@SpiveyLaw.com. Visit SpiveyLaw.com for more information. You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.in Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.