CSADD supports safety

By Michael Berg

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a three-part series on drunk driving. Today’s article deals with Red Ribbon Week.

Students interested in actively doing something about the problem of drunk driving can join NIU’s College Students Against Driving Drunk.

The first week of December is Red Ribbon Week, when ribbons are handed out across campus so people can show support for responsible and safe drinking, said Jordan Kagan, treasurer of CSADD.

The National Red Ribbon campaign was started by Mothers Against Drunk Driving six years ago, Kagan said. The ribbon is supposed to be tied to places such as doorknobs, rearview mirrors and antennas. MADD said the ribbons serve as a “reminder to not drive drunk” and a “symbol of our wish for a safe holiday season.”

CSADD also is seeking a proclamation from DeKalb Mayor Greg Sparrow and NIU President John La Tourette declaring December Red Ribbon Month in DeKalb and at NIU, Kagan said.

“The reason is December is the worst month of the year for drunk driving crashes,” he said.

The goal of the campaign and CSADD is to gain support for the cause and to “make it the cool thing not to drink and drive,” Kagan said. “The emphasis is on awareness and education, and reducing drunk driving accidents, injuries and deaths.”

Traffic crashes are the single greatest cause of death for people under 25, and more than 50 percent of these are alcohol-related, according to the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.

“More people died in the last decade in alcohol-related accidents than died in the Vietnam War,” Kagan said.

Between 1982 and 1988, there was an average of one alcohol-related fatality every 22 minutes, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. About two out of every five Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related traffic crash in their lifetime.

“Drinking and driving kills people, destroys families and costs a lot of money to individuals and society,” Kagan said.

The average DUI arrest costs $5,000, including fines, legal fees, the increase in insurance and lost work, Kagan said. Allstate estimated the cost of drunk driving to be $24 billion a year in the U.S.

“Drunk driving crashes are an avoidable tragedy,” Kagan said. “We are not telling people not to drink, but be smart about it. Use a designated driver, make arrangements to sleep over at the place you will be drinking—just don’t drive.

“We don’t want someone’s holiday to be ruined by a senseless DUI crash,” he said.

For more information on CSADD, call adviser Amy Havasi at 753-1834.