The consumption of alcohol by college students is sometimes viewed as a rite of passage that accompanies those few years of exploration in a young adult’s life. During those years of exploration, students will undoubtedly make poor decisions and learn valuable life lessons from them. Those poor decisions often include drinking and driving.
College institutions and organizations within them have developed various methods to curb this behavior. Some have created smartphone applications to connect drinkers to sober partygoers. Many large universities have adopted the strategy of using a ‘drunk bus.’
Drunk buses are often operated by individuals or organizations other than the institution itself, and are heralded as a means by which students can resist the temptation to get behind the wheel after drinking. A drunk bus is almost always free of charge to the students and is viewed as a safe alternative to drunk driving.
For UWG students, the idea of a drunk bus is not en route to be considered in the near future. “There are issues of liability as well as legal issues that may arise,” said UWG Police Chief Thomas Mackel. If a university provides a drunk bus, it would incur many liabilities. Alcohol related injuries or deaths associated with a drunk bus poses a huge risk for those involved. Providing transportation to underage drinkers could become a problem as well.
The question of whether or not to provide a drunk bus has been raised at UWG in the past, but has been dismissed due to many legal and liability issues related to such a service.
Students at other campuses have offered transportation to fellow students on an individual basis in exchange for money. As helpful as this seems, there can also be dangers associated with these kinds of services. “A lot of these things sound like good ideas, but there is a certain element of danger that comes with them,” said Mackel.
Mackel supports the idea of helping to counter the problem of drunk drivers on campus, but he also knows the legal implications that could follow the establishment of a drunk bus.
There are other problems that could occur with having a drunk bus. Would having a reliable, timely and free ride for inebriated students encourage them to drink more? UWG Student Government Association President Dana Jones thinks such an outcome would be inevitable.
“I do think that’s a great idea, but it would look like we’re condoning that type of behavior at UWG,” said Jones. “We want the students to have a certain sense of responsibility so that they can learn how to handle themselves appropriately.”
The problem of drunk drivers on college campuses remains a perpetual one. “Last year there were a total of 60 D.U.I.’s on campus. So far in 2013, there have been 69,” said Mackel. Such statistics are alarming, however, not all of those offenders are students. “It’s something that we’re very concerned about and that’s why we enforce the laws as strictly as we do,” said Mackel.