DUI Leads to Many Youth Fatalities

The harsh trail of alcohol lingers on the driver’s bloody garments as they lay lifeless on the side of a scattered glass pavement. Alongside the corpse, a dismantled vehicle perches on its side after colliding head on with a guardrail. 

A split decision to consume alcohol and operate a vehicle has resulted in an ongoing battle of car accident fatalities and DUI arrest among those ages 21-25.

Tallahassee law enforcement has taken additional precautions by conducting safety checkpoints to detect impaired drivers operating a vehicle, drivers driving without a license and vehicles with faulty safety equipment.

The Tallahassee Police Department and Florida State Police Department conducted two sobriety and safety checkpoints last month at the 300 block of Stadium Drive and the intersection of San Luis Road and San Pedro Avenue.

344 cars were checked, resulting in 30 citations issued, one DUI arrest and 3 other arrests.

These procedures have been effective Derrick Folson, Patrol Sergeant with the FAMU Department of Public Safety, said. He reported that there were no campus DUI arrests during FAMU homecoming earlier this month.

In preparation for the annual week, 25-30 FAMU police officers were called to duty during the homecoming football game and 10-15 during the traditional homecoming campus events.

No major issues were reported, Folson said.

In addition to routine checkpoints, Folson said the Leon County Multi-Agency DUI Strike Force hosted saturation patrols. This team consists of the FAMU and FSU police departments, Leon County Sheriff’s Department and the Tallahassee Police Department.

The purpose of the patrols is to go out in a specific area monitoring traffic within a city or around campus to detect impaired drivers.

As part of the DUI Strike Force program, FSU police reported 163 student arrests were made on campus for DUIs last year- the highest number of DUI arrests since 2003.

With the arrival of football season and large organization events, the likelihood of students and locals celebrating with alcohol is at its highest, Folson said.

TPD spokesman officer David Northway said he is concerned during the festive homecoming season because police are frequently called into cases of events involving alcohol.

“Alcohol obviously causes some people to act inappropriately, causing police to be summoned. We are called and usually have to either stop people from entering or shut the event down completely,” Northway said.

For many students, the idea that drinking is the norm for a college student is a misconstrued assumption.

According to Yolanda Bogan, associate professor and Director of Sunshine Manor Counseling Center, fewer students consume alcohol as heavily or as often as many assume.

Brogan mentions other beliefs that contribute to young adults taking risks like driving under the influence.

“A sense of invulnerability– the false idea that bad outcomes can and will happen to others, but not me,” she said. “Planning ahead increases the likelihood of safety. When going out, have a designated driver, make sure you are in possession of your drink at all times and never let someone you know drive while intoxicated.”