I sat in advisement watching the same low-budget, 1990s film I had seen in a freshmen health class.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle crashes are still the leading cause of death for 15 to 20-year-olds and traffic deaths among teens during typical prom season weekends (March 1 to May 31) are higher than any other time of year. Photo by Alexa Friedman.
The video depicts a situation in which students are fatally affected by a drunken driving accident. The false gore, unrealistic scenes and amateur acting had the same effect on my class as it did the first time we were forced to watch it – none at all.
While I appreciate the effort to prevent students from drinking and driving under the influence before the Clarke Central High School prom, which is on April 27 this year, showing the senior class an outdated film is not the way to accomplish that goal.
We already understand that driving under the influence is illegal. We know our families would be devastated if we tragically died. We know we should be careful.
Instead of showing us repetitive information, we should be informed about the consequences of breaking the law in a way that relates to us.
We need to hear from an expert.
Local defense attorney Kevin Epps receives an average of eight to 12 calls per week concerning alcohol-related crimes when the University of Georgia is in session.
“If I never represented another underage possession or DUI, I’d be the happiest man in my life,” Epps said.
In order to understand the severity of a DUI conviction, Epps feels young people must think about their futures, as a DUI stays on your record for 10 years.
“You may have a 4.0, you may have all of the community service in the world and awards, but if you’re going up against a person and you’ve got a DUI and they don’t, college campuses are looking at that. Who do you think they’re going to choose? The person without the DUI,” Epps said.
There is no way to safely drink and drive because it doesn’t matter if you don’t “feel” drunk or if you’ve only had one drink, you can still be arrested and convicted of a DUI.
“The best defense against a DUI is to simply not drink and drive. That’s it. A taxi cab costs you $10, a DUI costs you $1,500,” Epps said.
However, we have to face it. People our age drink, but for people under 21 years of age, the legal limit for blood alcohol content is only 0.02 on a breathalyzer.
“What people who are in high school need to know about drinking and driving is that there is no room for error and you will not be given a break,” Epps said. “If you are in a motor vehicle, in the driver’s seat with alcohol on your breath, I can say with 100 percent certainty that you will be arrested for DUI. You get no breaks; 0.02 (BAC) is taking three sips of a beer, that’s all it is.”
An outdated video does not teach us that you have to serve a minimum of 48 hours in jail if you get arrested for driving under the influence. And if you’re 17 or older, you will not be charged as a juvenile. In fact, you will be serving time in prison…adult prison.
It may be a difficult fact to fully grasp, but not every high school student comes home after prom. Take it from an expert, by draining one of those red plastic cups, lives can be changed, worsened or lost.
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