Hi, I’m Evangeline “Angie” Hermes, and the proud recipient of the 2017 Skinner Law Firm scholarship. I’m a current senior at Parker High School in Parker, Arizona, and plan to attend the University of Arizona with a major in biomedical engineering next fall. Besides school and work, I love to read, write, listen to music, and simply have a good laugh. I’m a proud member of our school band, playing tuba, baritone, trombone, and french horn, and am concertmaster for our school orchestra as well. I’m also currently ranked first in my class and participate in disability advocacy in La Paz county, raising awareness for disability rights and for low vision, as I am legally blind due to a rare genetic disorder known as oculocutaneous albinism. As an employee of the Desert Bar, one of the local attractions in Parker, I understand the importance of college students finding safe methods of travel whilst intoxicated. I am grateful for this opportunity and would like to thank everyone at Skinner Law for their support and generosity!
Underage drinking in college is a serious issue that continues to endanger lives each year. With driving companies, such as Lyft and Uber, college students have safer alternatives to consider before drinking and driving.
In addition to driving companies, what alternatives can a student consider before drinking and driving?
I’ve worked as security at The Desert Bar for about two years now, and in doing so I’ve been able to see many of the effects of alcohol that are often ignored or unmentioned in the media. From seeing the development of jaundice to seeing intoxicated customers try to drive the three miles back to the main road and luckily being stopped by their peers, the effects of drinking are not only severe but can have long lasting consequences on not only the drinker but the families affected as well. Especially so in the case of intoxicated driving.
While much improvement has come in terms of an intoxicated driver finding safe ways to get home through companies such as Lyft and Uber, that’s not always an option, as in the case of our small town of 3,000 in which we are out of the operating range of both companies. Taxi cab companies won’t drive out to The Desert Bar location as well, as our roads are notorious for popping tires and for being especially dangerous. When Spring Break rolls around and we have college students running about, as a company we have to seriously contemplate ways to safely transport our customers out, especially when they have become too intoxicated. Luckily, we have a few options available to such cases.
In the cases where calling some sort of commercial company is impossible, from finances to situations such as ours, a few venues offer shuttles to and from centralized locations. This allows for the customer to be placed in a public venue in which they may be able to receive help getting home or get there themselves.
Another option available to the intoxicated that is often overlooked is contacting law enforcement to get a ride. This is often looked down upon as police, especially in situations involving alcohol, are seen as rude, overbearing, and looking for any excuse to arrest someone. In reality, most departments are more than willing to help in situations such as these, especially in small towns or in places with a low crime rate. In respect to the law, it is a much more viable option for a police officer to drive the intoxicated home and for them to stay out of trouble than it is for that driver to go out and perhaps cause an accident that may result in the loss of life.
And lastly, and perhaps the most readily available option for most college students, is to ask a friend. Many students have found that “designated driver” situations are ideal, as it allows for a safe, planned medium by which the student can get back to a location. In unplanned aspects, simply call a friend. This is perhaps the most important factor to consider. Get help. Friends look out for one another and will more than likely be willing to protect not only you, but others on the road and give you a lift. There are always safe, viable options for the intoxicated other than drinking and driving. It’s just up to you to use them.
Drinking and driving has many consequences and endangers countless lives every day. There are many steps that can be taken to avoid such a situation and it is in the public’s best interest to bring attention to them. College students especially should never feel that they have to drink and drive to get back to a safe situation. From friends to agencies, there are plenty of ways that a college student may find their way home, even if they don’t have any money. In short, there are always options before we start driving under the influence. Let’s start using them.