Festivities Tied to Increase in Impaired Driving and Binge Drinking
Many see the tradition of Halloween themed parties at fraternities, sororities, apartments and dorms at our nation’s colleges and universities as a rite of passage for college students. In reality, they pose a significant threat to students and the community as a whole. College students often make poor decisions after their Halloween revels, especially when alcohol is involved. Drinking and driving after campus Halloween parties is a known and potentially deadly occurrence on college campuses across America.
Lauri Sidelko, director of Drug and Alcohol Education Programs at The University of Maine points out that students may engage in risky behavior while in costume because the disguises and general party atmosphere of Halloween give some students “a license to do things they wouldn’t normally do.”
Sargent Scott Curtis of the University of Maine Police Department notes that Halloween brings out even more partygoers than on a typical campus weekend, and gives students “a theme and purpose to ramp up, in particular, drinking.” Unfortunately, students often don’t even realize how much alcohol they have in their system because they mix their own drinks at parties. When dispensed in large cups and not measured, a student could be downing one drink, or perhaps five, depending on who was pouring the concoction.
According to the NCADD (National Council On Alcohol and Drug Dependence),
- 600,000 college students are unintentionally injured while under the influence of alcohol.
- 700,000 students are assaulted by other students who have been drinking
- 100,000 students are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape
Clearly, drinking on college campuses is a dangerous choice many young students are making, often with dire consequences.
Beverages served at campus Halloween parties also pose a unique problem. Flavored hard alcohol, especially when combined with other liquids which mask the taste of alcohol, encourage students to drink even more than they normally would. “They’re drinking straight alcohol with no idea what amount will kill you,” Curtis said.
Halloween Busy Time for University of Maine Police
Sidelko, director of Drug and Alcohol Education Programs says, “Nationally, Halloween is the second-ranked drinking holiday of the year. When you look at our college campus, it translates to our first because students aren’t here for New Year’s.”
College campus education programs aimed at reducing binge drinking and preventing impaired driving are excellent ways to prevent Halloween tragedies and accidents. Parents can also help mitigate the dangers of Halloween drinking and driving by educating their college-aged children about safe behavior, the dangers of underage drinking, and stressing that we are all responsible for keeping our communities safe by making sensible decisions when it comes to Halloween parties. An increased police presence on Halloween aimed at stopping drunk drivers before they can cause serious accidents is also an extremely effective deterrent.
Halloween is a fun and exciting time on college campuses across the nation, but it is certainly not an excuse to drink and drive. The personal injury attorneys at Hardy, Wolf and Downing want you to have a fantastic and safe Halloween – so keep things sensible while keeping safety a top priority.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of a drunk or otherwise impaired driver on what should be a festive, happy holiday, please allow the experienced Maine personal injury attorneys at Hardy, Wolf an Downing to give your case the full attention it deserves.