On Campus Drinking and Driving Arrest Rates Low for UA Students
The Arkansas Traveler
By Shelby Evans – Senior Staff Writer
November 11, 2015
Despite almost 100 drunk driving arrests that have occurred on campus in 2015, university officials agreed that driving under the influence is not a big problem with UA students.
Since January 2015, there have been 98 reports of driving under the influence on university property. Of those 98 arrests, only 29 were students, according to the UAPD daily crime log.
“The largest crime that occurs on campus is alcohol related, but drunk driving is not a problem as much as public intoxication and underage drinking,” UAPD Capt. Matt Mills said.
In 2015, there have been 120 reports of public intoxication and 110 reports of minor in possession of alcohol, according to the crime log.
National data suggests that nearly 60 percent of full-time college students between the ages of 18-22 drank alcohol in 2014, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
In 2013, alcohol-impaired driving accounted for 10,076 deaths in America, and 1,825 of those deaths were college students between the ages of 18 and 24, according to NIAAA.
“I don’t really think drunk driving is a problem here,” sophomore Hannah Hoag said. “We have so many options to avoid drink and driving.”
Mills said he agreed.
“With programs like Safe Ride, I believe the chances of students driving drunk are lowered,” Mills said.
Safe Ride is a university program that provides students with a means of transportation from any uncomfortable situation. Safe Ride staff will take students to any residence in Fayetteville listed on the Integrated Student Information System, according to the Transit and Parking website.
The UofA is not the only school that has a program like Safe Ride. Texas A&M has a program paid for by students called Carpool, according to the Texas A&M website. Carpool operates on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Unlike Safe Ride, Carpool staff will provide rides to people who are not students, according to the Carpool website.
Greek designated drivers are also a way drunk driving is prevented, Mills said. Greek designated drivers, also known as pledge drivers, are fraternity members who act as designated drivers during events that may involve drinking.
“Pledge drivers are like a free Uber,” sophomore Shannon Birkhoff said. “It really helps broke students and prevents drunk driving. Plus, the pledges are always really nice.”
Despite programs offered to students, there are still people who will attempt to drink and drive, Mills said.
“If a student is caught driving under the influence, they will be arrested and booked at the Fayetteville police station,” Mills said.
University officials are alerted once a student is arrested for drunk driving, Mills said.
The first offence for a student driving while intoxicated is a suspended license and a fine of up to $500. Students will also have to complete an educational program about drinking and driving on campus.
Every day, about 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This results in one death every 48 minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.