Letter: Making the right choice

Drinking and college go together like peas and carrots. In fact, drinking is such a major part of the U.S. college lifestyle that the 21st birthday is seen as a bigger deal than your 16th (which introduces the freedom of not asking your parents to take you somewhere) or 18th (voting, cigarettes, the lottery and porn are now legal) because you no longer have to worry about getting a drinking ticket; no longer have to get someone else to get you alcohol; and can even have a few beers and still legally drive, provided you’re under the legal limit.

The unfortunate thing about turning 21 is the fact that most people still have the “I’m young and invincible” attitude.

This leads to people getting behind the wheel when, under better judgment, they probably would not. Now, I know that the last thing a college student wants to hear is another lecture on drinking and driving, but I ask you to keep reading out of respect to one of my friends and one of your peers.

On Aug. 23, my roommate was in a one-car accident with four other people. Three of these people had various injuries spanning from broken ankles to broken arms. The driver escaped physically unharmed, although I cannot speak for his mental state. This is because on Aug. 26, my friend and roommate, a senior in chemistry who was graduating in December, passed away because of complications from the injuries he sustained in that accident. He was dead when the ambulance arrived at the scene and never made it out of the coma he slipped into when rescue workers revived him. He was 23 years old. The driver only was 22.

Two lives now are ruined because of drunk driving; one because it’s over and the other because now he gets to spend the rest of his life dealing with the fact that he killed one of his friends by making one idiotic, completely avoidable mistake. He also gets to spend the next few years thinking about it in a jail cell.

This whole drama makes for a great horror story; some speech given at a D.A.R.E. assembly in high school. I even bet that as you read this, you’re thinking that it couldn’t happen to you or your friends.

And if you’re not literally thinking it now, then the next time you drive when you’ve had a few, you’re thinking it. Everyone knows alcohol impairs judgment (think beer goggles). So the next time you go out drinking – and driving is an issue – please designate a driver beforehand.

Three of my friends will be in casts for the next 5 to 10 weeks; one of my friends will be in prison for 5 to 10 years; and my roommate never will get the chance to graduate, get a job, start a family or even say goodbye to his parents. All because of one decision that never got made; the decision of who would be the designated driver.

I beg you, please don’t make the same mistake.

Paul Koranda

senior in LAS