Cavalier Attitude Towards Drunk Driving Is Misplaced

Sophia Rogers

“It would be kind of cool to have a DUI, not saying I want one, but it would be kind of cool,” said an anonymous Miramonte student. Although this statement seems completely ridiculous, students’ general attitude towards drunk driving and DUI charges seem rather cavalier.

Miramonte students seem to be under the impression that they are “good” at driving buzzed or even drunk. No one seems to take into account that even a blood alcohol level of .01 can earn a minor a DUI charge and most likely a suspended license.

Jimmy Lee, Director of Public Affairs at Orinda Police Department said, “Police do not believe that the city of Orinda has a higher number of underage DUI’s compared to other areas in the county. This is a problem in other cities and communities as well.”

It’s comforting to know that everywhere else has the same problem of drunken minors crashing into things.

Although the problem isn’t necessarily focused only inside the Orinda community, it’s time that we examined the causes and effects of drinking and then driving.

First of all, we as a body of collective underage drinkers have to take the blame. Sure we can say that drinking and partying is just a part of high school, but really, is driving intoxicated and risking life and license part of that culture? I would say no.

However, when someone is even slightly intoxicated, his or her judgment is impaired. It’s difficult to make correct choices when under the influence of any drug, and when it comes to driving, a drunk person may only think they are driving like they would any other day of the week.

“I decided to drive because I was oblivious to the consequences,” said an anonymous senior girl who ended up with a DUI charge the night she decided to drive drunk. “It really didn’t cross my mind that I was drinking and driving.”

The obvious solution to this problem would be to abstain from drinking altogether, since it is illegal and dangerous, but as the same Miramonte student put it: “As sad or bad as it is to hear, drinking is part of high school…but there are so many other ways to have transportation and it’s the stupidest thing to drive.” So Miramonte students, take the time to find a reliable designated driver/ride/taxi and if all of the above fall through, stay where you are, even if it means breaking curfew. IT’S BETTER THAN BREAKING OPEN YOUR HEAD. Or, find yourself an odd friend who doesn’t attend parties but will be willing to pick you up at 2 a.m. at a moments notice.

However, the problem doesn’t rest entirely in our young hands. “One problem police see is the acceptance of drinking in the community by some,” said Lee.

On a larger scale, the entire community needs to take some responsibility for the actions of their youth. When a multitude of parents condone their child’s alcohol consumption, that’s just asking for trouble. Sure, parents can say they allow drinking but no driving, but how would they ever know if little Jimmy is driving around after knocking back a few? Parents should realize that their kids don’t always follow their rules, and maybe understand that saying it’s okay doesn’t actually make illegal activities acceptable.

Allowing kids to drink outside of the household severely downplays the dangers of drinking. When parents knowingly allow their child to drink and party, with their car, they are essentially condoning drunk driving. While parents may be “cool” about drinking, they should realize that it’s okay to be the adult and at least figure out their child’s means of transportation before allowing them out. “Cool” and “irresponsible” aren’t synonyms.

Overall, Orinda seems to accept the “drinking is part of high school” rule, and ignores the problems that can stem from our underage partying, mainly driving after consuming alcohol.
It’s time we take a step back as a community and realize that we’re doing more damage than we might think.