Students should be more careful behind the wheel

By Michelle Lampariello
Nation & World Editor

Maybe it’s the drunk driver in my hometown that made a boy spend his tenth birthday in the hospital with a severe head injury last month. Maybe it’s my little sister getting her permit this week and my concern for her safety. Maybe it’s hearing that a friend decided to get in a car with someone who had been using drugs that night.

For whatever reason, I cannot shake the thought that people need to stop thinking they’re invincible and start paying more attention on the road.

There are several distractions that can cause people’s eyes to deviate from where they should be, but especially among college students, texting tends to be a common component in accidents. Drivers under the age of 20 are at a greater risk to be involved in a distraction-related crash compared to older drivers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why do we risk our lives so often when we have the most to lose?

Our lives are just beginning. There is so much in front of us and so many opportunities to experience, yet we are willing to risk it all in one car ride. As busy students, we can be tempted to check our phone when we hear it buzz with an email alert.

But trust me, that Canvas notification about the test you were unsure about won’t matter if you end up in the hospital.

Aside from distracted driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is also continuing to take too many young lives. Every year, 1,825 college students die as a result of “alcohol related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes,” according to College Drinking Prevention.

There is always going to be a presence of drinking on college campuses, but we can prevent loss of life because of it. We can make the choice to not be a drunk driver and choose to not get in a car with someone who has been drinking.

When we go home for summer break, there are going to be plenty of opportunities to be on the road. Trips to the beach, visits with family and friends and traveling back and forth from work and home will have me spending a minimum of 30 minutes a day driving. I look forward to this time, especially since I have spent my freshman year without my car on campus. However, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit nervous.

The most dangerous month to drive is August, according to Forbes. There needs to be an understanding that even if we are free from our academic responsibilities over the summer, we still need to drive responsibly.

Summer can be a great time to travel and make memories. When it comes to trips, I was always taught that “half the fun is getting there.” So, be safe this summer, keep the journey fun and keep your eyes on the road.