By Ashley Downey

Did you know that every 51 minutes in the US, someone gets killed from a drunk driving crash? Choosing to operate a vehicle after consuming alcohol can not only be extremely deadly to you, but to others on the road as well. It’s no joke, think before you get behind the wheel. I recently interviewed Ms. Blair and Officer Ravish on this issue which can not be discussed nearly enough. Driving under the influence of not only alcohol, but while smoking marijuana, can have a very negative outcome for yourself, and others around you.

While interviewing Ms. Blair about this topic, we discussed some very important things that people in our community, especially our student drivers should know for their own safety. According to Ms. Blair, ¨Being under the influence of either alcohol or marijuana or any other kind of substance impairs not only vision, but it also impairs judgement and reaction time, so the combination of those things makes for a very very unsafe driver.¨  She says it’s definitely something they cover in the health curriculum, and ¨we definitely can’t talk about it enough¨. Furthermore we discussed real life situations, where, for example one might go to a party with friends and may have been consuming alcoholic beverages. In that situation, how would one get home, or back where they need to be without having to operate a vehicle to get to the destination?  Ms. Blair’s advice is, ¨Having a plan ahead of time and being able to anticipate situations like that is I think a really good move, like if you know you’re going to be at a party make sure you have a designated driver, or a trusted adult you can call.¨

While shifting my interview over to the potential legal consequences, I interviewed Officer Ravish who said, ¨If you are 21 years or older the penalties are loss of license, alcohol classes, and you can potentially get your license back with in 45 days, that’s if you take the breathalyzer test. If you don’t take the breathalyzer machine and you are over 21 years of age, you will lose your license for a period of 180 days, and or up to a year.¨  Officer Ravish explained to me that the penalties are different for minors who are driving under the influence. He said, ¨If you get caught drinking and driving anywhere between sixteen and a half to 18, when you get your license, you will lose your license for 4 years.¨ Getting a license is not always an effortless task. We all know that it takes a lot of hard work and time, and  it most certainly doesn’t come cheap, either. So think about it. All that hard work and money spent just to make a mistake and have your license revoked is definitely not worth it especially when you know the consequences in advance. Uber is a great alternative to avoid drinking and driving, and this was also mentioned in my conversation with Officer Ravish. He also thinks Uber is wonderful. Instead of driving yourself to a bar or back from a party, it is much easier, and furthermore safer to just “Uber” there and back. This way if you do consume more than the legal limit to drive, you do not have to worry about getting behind the wheel and killing yourself or someone else. Driving under the influence of anything, even marijuana is not safe, even if your friends think so, or say it is. It can be fatal, or can get someone seriously injured and it will potentially leave you without a license. Stop and ask yourself, is it worth it?