Dear Alicia

By on October 10, 2007

Drinking and driving was never a problem when I lived on campus because my friends and I always used the shuttle buses. But now since we live off campus I have realized that a lot of my friends do drink and drive. It is so dangerous and it makes me very worried. How should I talk to them about this? From worried sick

Dear worried sick,

First off, you are right, drinking and driving is extremely dangerous. This is a serious problem with your friends. I realize that a lot of students, who don’t have the shuttles as an option, tend to drink and drive because they do not want to spend money on a cab. I also see students say they will only have one or two beers, but at the end of the night, they have 5 beers in their system and still think they are fine to drive home. It scares me that some people think that they are invincible and nothing bad can happen to them.

My advice is to immediately talk to your friends about this. This is something too serious to let go for any longer. You can start by explaining to them how worried you are since you know how dangerous drinking and driving can be. You can tell them that even though you trust their ability to know their own limit, you still believe that no one should drive with even one beer in their system.

According to, 1,700 college students die each year from alcohol related injuries, including motor vehicle accidents. Your friends hear these stories. Your friends know drinking and driving is dangerous. Your friends know that they should not drink and drive. But your friends need to hear it again, from you!

After explaining how you feel uncomfortable and how you worry about their lives, make a schedule for designated drivers. Every night that you guys go out, someone needs to promise not to drink and be able to drive everyone home. Make sure everyone takes turns and promises to keep their scheduled night.

This does sound easier said then done. I understand that some people are selfish and would never volunteer to be the designated driver. I also know that some people will say fine about being the DD and then drink 8 beers during the night. I have experienced both of these situations.

In the first situation where someone will never be the DD, you need to put your foot down and stand up to them. Explain to them that if they are not going to ever be the DD, then they can not be added to the schedule. It is not fair for everyone to always drive them around, yet they have never volunteer to drive their friends around.

In the situation where someone is the scheduled DD for the night and then breaks their promise and does drink, my advice is to not let them drive at all. Do not get in the car with them; do not even let them drive themselves home. Take their keys and spend some extra cash on a cab. And after everyone is home safely and had a good night sleep, explain to them that they broke their promise and that it can never happen again.

I know it could be hard to talk to your friend’s about drunk driving because someone can get very defensive about it, but you need to let them know that you are only bringing it up because you care about their safety and you do not want to see anything bad happen. You do not want them to be just another statistic.

Ever since I got my license my father has always said, “Cars hit worse then bullets”. And it is true. Explain this to your friends and hopefully they will finally understand.

– Alicia

(You can email me questions at, or you can drop off questions in the anonymous folder outside of the Chronicle office, upstairs in the student center)


About Alicia Staffa