Anna Schultz-Girl With Red Solo Cup

The Dangers of Drunk Driving

You're getting ready to go out with your friends; it's the end of winter break, and you're coming to the end of an amazing vacation before you head back to school. You're in a new city with some great friends. You and your friends all pack into an Uber — there's no way you're driving home tonight. You go to a club; the music is hitting, the drinks are hitting and everything is right. You and your friends are tipsy, giggling and taking selfies just like usual. It's around 1 a.m., and you're all getting ready to call it a night. You open up your phone to call an Uber, and once it arrives, you and your friends head home. As the Uber driver attempts to merge lanes on a highway, a speeding car comes and rear-ends you. The impact snaps your neck and kills you. Just like that, you're gone. Your friends get seriously injured as well, but they are lucky and only walk away with numerous broken bones, a collapsed lung and a concussion. Even the Uber driver couldn't escape unscathed. They, too, are left with a concussion and a totaled vehicle. Sound terrifying? Unjust? Cruel? Sad? It was. This was the fate of one of my close childhood friends. 

 

To preface, my friend Katie* was one of the most lively, wonderful people I had ever met. She had the most gorgeous smile, framed by two dimples and piercing blue eyes. She was that girl: popular and pretty, genuinely sweet and never took herself too seriously. Katie came from a British family, and, as one of my first friends in middle school, she brought me a pack of Burton's Jammie Dodgers for my birthday every year. She was the sweetest. In fact, I later heard from a mutual friend that she took the time to buy him a new uniform sweater after he had been disciplined at our private high school for having holes in his old one. "She knew I wasn't in the best of financial situations," he told me. After graduating, she ended up moving to another state to go to college. We lost contact for a while, messaging every each other now and then to catch up. She seemed so happy. She went to parties and tailgates and enjoyed her college life to the fullest. She had a long-term boyfriend whom she referred to as the "love of her life." Her sister had gotten engaged over the Christmas holiday, and the wedding was set to be on Katie's 22nd birthday. She never lived to see it.

As it turns out, the driver of the vehicle that hit Katie was heavily intoxicated. Others had noticed him driving recklessly for numerous miles. Ultimately, that drunk driver walked away with minimal injuries, just a couple of scratches. Meanwhile, my good friend lost her life. The saddest thing of all? The drunk driver that killed Katie had lost their cousin to a drunk driving accident a week prior. 

 

According to MADD, or Mothers Against Drunk Driving, "in 2017,10,874 people died in drunk driving crashes — one every 48 minutes — and more than 300,000 were injured in drunk driving crashes." Another statistic revealed that a person is injured every two minutes in a drunk driving accident in the United States. Approximately, two out of three people will be involved in an accident caused by drunk driving in their lifetime. Some people escape with their lives; others, are not so lucky. The pain that this driver has caused is unimaginable. The light that they stole from this world cannot be replaced. Katie's family and friends will be forced to reconcile and piece together their lives without her because of their reckless and inconsiderate actions. They perpetuated the pain placed on their very own family.

With that, I implore you to, please, be responsible. Call that Uber, just as Katie and her friends did. Or, hail that cab. Have a friend take your keys. Designate a trustworthy friend to stay sober throughout the night. Walk home from Pub barefoot if you must. But please, for Katie and all other victims of drunk driving, do not ever drive drunk.

*Name changed to protect the identity of the victim and their family.