Drunk driving accidents could easily be avoided

By Michael Berg

Editor’s Note: This is the last in a three-part series on drunk driving. Today’s article deals with drinking myths and safe party tips.

Students can do more than they think to help avoid drunk driving accidents and deaths by following a few simple precautions and using common sense.

People have heard many myths about drinking and driving, said Jordan Kagan, treasurer of NIU’s College Students Against Driving Drunk chapter.

“I drive better when I’m under the influence, coffee will sober me up, I’ll just take a cold shower—people who’ve been drinking use these (lines) all the time,” Kagan said.

“The only thing that sobers someone up is time,” Kagan added.

Other myths people have when they get behind the wheel is that they are not going to get caught or that it won’t happen to them, he said.

According to the Secretary of State’s office, there is a high chance of not getting caught. Nationally, for every drunk driver who is arrested, an estimated 500 to 2,000 drive under the influence undetected.

Hosts of parties can be held legally responsible for actions of their guests, according to the Secretary of State’s office. Selling or giving alcohol to a minor might result in one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

State law imposes up to a $500 fine for knowingly allowing two or more people to gather at a residence where there is underage drinking.

However, the penalties can be avoided by using some tips for having a safe party from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Allstate Insurance Company. The tips are:

‘Always serve food with alcohol—preferably low-salt, high-protein foods like cheese and meat.

‘Serve nonalcoholic beverages so guests who do not want to drink have a choice.

‘Mix alcoholic punch with a noncarbonated base like fruit juice. Carbonation causes the body to absorb alcohol more quickly.

‘Stop serving alcohol two hours before the party is over.

‘Hosts and hostesses should not let drunk people drive, but find someone sober to do it, let them stay the night, or call a taxi.

Guests also can help themselves by choosing a designated driver before going to a party.

“We are not telling people not to drink,” Kagan said. “But use your brain, and don’t drink and drive. Get a sober driver, a designated driver. It could save your life.”