Students and residents of San Marcos need to pay attention to the warnings against drunk driving they hear each day.
The slogans, posters and presentations denouncing drunk driving are nearly as omnipresent in college life as the alcohol they warn against. When any message, no matter how well intentioned, is thrown in a person’s face as rapidly and repeatedly as anti-drunk driving campaigns, the meaning can begin to get lost in the noise.
However, drunk driving remains a dangerous activity and leaves absolutely no excuse for the Sept. 2 hit-and-run incident that left three people hospitalized and the driver of the car that hit them in jail. Pedestrians in an area as concentrated as The Square depend on the responsibility of every single driver on the road for their safety. As the city saw last week, just one intoxicated driver is enough to seriously compromise the well being of everyone in the vicinity.
Fortunately, San Marcos police were able to stop and apprehend the driver in question. Tiffany Dahl, 25, is currently out of jail on $75,000 bail and faces three felony charges of failure to stop and render aid as well as two counts of intoxication assault. Only Dahl and the people she was with know the amount of alcohol that contributed to the incident and how enjoyable the night may have been to that point. However, it is doubtful she considers those memories worth it with the consequences she faces now.
Drinking is not an inherently shameful activity. The economy of San Marcos, especially The Square, relies on the sale and consumption of alcohol by responsible adults looking for ways to relax and enjoy themselves after working and studying. For an area so heavily trafficked, The Square is usually a safe place to enjoy such activities, as long as proper precautions are taken. However, incidents like the one on Sept. 2 threaten the safety of everyone involved and damage San Marcos’ reputation.
The issue of drunk driving does not stem from lack of education, but application of that knowledge. In this age of public service announcements and multi-million dollar campaigns, no one of drinking age can reasonably claim not to know the dangers of drinking and driving.
Problems occur when the time arises to make the decision to drive after drinking. Too many people choose the wrong option, with potentially deadly results. A small town like San Marcos cannot afford to be known as a place where such dangers are common, especially since the university works hard to improve its reputation with parents of future students.
Though the public has heard this message thousands of times before, it obviously was not enough last week. Anyone who chooses to drink accepts the responsibility for all of his or her actions under the influence. Every group should include a driver responsible for getting their friends home safely.
Drinking has its own dangers in itself, but they can be sharply reduced if the alcohol is handled properly. But drinking and driving is always dangerous and oftentimes fatal. Three peers to the thousands of students and residents across San Marcos were hospitalized because of one drinker’s negligence. There is no excuse.