By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer
Eastern New Mexico University has implemented a Safe Ride program in an attempt to curtail students from driving under the influence of alcohol.
A student-run transportation program, the service is available 24 hours a day seven days a week to students, student body president Steven Frost said. There are male and female drivers at all times.
“The ultimate goal is to save lives and prevent heartaches,” Frost said.
“When a student is at a party and has a couple drinks, they are over the legal limit. When they drive home, there are penalties, whether it is a DWI, or someone’s life. The consequences are just not worth it. With this program students can avoid them.”
In 2005, 2.8 million college students drove while under the influence of alcohol, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
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“This last semester we lost several students to alcohol-related deaths. It is a problem that affects us all; ASENMU had the opportunity to do something about it, so we took action,” Frost said.
ENMU senior Autumn Gonzales said ENMU has become diligent about cracking down on the amount of drinking that students participate in.
“When I started college four years ago, it wasn’t as strict,” Gonzales said.
Freshman Cheyenne Lattin concurred with Gonzales, saying some of the fraternity parties she has attended have checked for IDs and require underage attendees to be identified with a mark, she said.
“They (the fraternities) don’t condone underage drinking,” Lattin said.
On the Friday before St. Patrick’s Day, ENMU groups will host the Save-A-Life tour. A national tour that targets the dangers of driving while under the influence, students will have the opportunity to enter a simulator that imitates under-the-influence driving conditions, Frost said.
The dangers of binge drinking and what signs to look for when a person has had to much to drink will also be discussed.
Plans are also in the works to not only present the program to ENMU students but area high school students, Frost said.
“I feel we don’t have a major problem on campus, but we want to take steps to prevent it. We care about the students,” Frost said.
The program is not specifically for intoxicated students, but for any student in an unsafe situation that needs a ride home.