Don’t throw away your future by driving drunk

Editorial Board

It’s December, and that means it’s time for finals and the holiday season; at least one of those, if not both, is probably pretty stressful for you. Fortunately, holiday parties give everyone a chance to blow off some of that stress by having fun with friends.

But nothing puts a damper on the holiday spirit like being charged with a DUI for driving drunk—especially if it comes with a wrecked vehicle, an injury or a death.

More than 1,000 college students 18 to 24 years old die each year from accidents involving drunken driving, according to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Not only that, but 16- to 24-year-old drivers make up 39 percent of people responsible for killing others in drunken driving accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

A first-time DUI in Maryland costs up to $1,000 in fines, never mind the legal fees and car insurance rate increases.

Aside from the sheer cost of a DUI, imagine living with the weight of another person’s death on your conscience.

A drunken driving conviction in Maryland also comes with a possible six-month license suspension and up to one year of prison time.

It isn’t necessary to put others at risk to have a good time. Designate a sober driver, call a taxi or use a ride-share service like Lyft or Uber.

But above all, have a plan before you start drinking. The whole point of alcohol is to mess with your mind, so don’t rely on yourself to make the right decision when you’re already drunk.

After college, you’ll probably get dressed up for a job interview in your chosen field; picture yourself wearing that same outfit to go to your own trial instead.

You’re in college to improve yourself and set a course for a bright future. Don’t throw away that future—and possibly someone else’s as well—with one mistake.