It’s that time of year. The sun is coming out and the flowers are blooming. But most importantly, high school seniors are walking across the stage and ending their 13-year journey of public education. It’s a very exciting time, until graduation night, someone dies alone on the side of the road because of an underage drunken driving accident.
Parties after graduation are a given, and almost everyone has accepted the fact that there will be plenty of underage drinking. I am a senior at Thunder Mountain High School, and when I ask my peers about driving while intoxicated, they claim that they are good at faking it, or “it’s not that far,” or “I’ve done it before and I made it home.” NONE OF THESE ARE EXCUSES! When you are driving drunk, you are not just putting yourself in danger, you are putting everyone else on the road in danger.
As a graduate myself, I know that I am only a call away and I am more than willing to go pick someone up so that they will arrive home safe. I am 100 percent sure that anyone’s loved ones won’t want to be woken up by a police officer knocking on his or her door.
A perfect example of this is the Taylor White accident on June 5, 2009, when a group of three graduates were driving into town from a graduation party and the driver lost control of the car. They were all intoxicated at the time. This is a story we all know too well. Every year since then, the totaled car is placed in front of the high schools, as a reminder of that horrible accident.
However in my opinion, it didn’t qualify as an accident. The driver made two mistakes: drinking and getting into a car. And now the driver will live with that for the rest of his life.
This is not just a public service announcement to my peers who plan to drink after graduation, but also to the rest of the community. For everyone who plans to talk to one of the graduating seniors about underage drinking, please also reassure them that they have someone to call if they do find themselves in a situation where they need a sober driver.
If parents try not to deny the fact that their students don’t drink, and accept that it is a possibility, it could save lives. No questions asked and no judgement, just give someone a call or a text. We all care, and we’re only one call away.