Drunk driving has become prominent and normalized


Editorial Board

At The Collegian we feel strongly about being safe while drinking. Nevertheless, we’ve all heard people make excuses and make the conscious decision to endanger themselves and others by getting behind the wheel after drinking. 

The blood alcohol content allowed to legally drive is .08, which means as soon as you’ve had a single Busch Light, you’ve already reached the limit.

The harsh reality is that we’ve fostered a reckless attitude that romanticizes alcohol culture, which is why driving drunk has become so prevalent. People are very rarely held accountable for their actions — until their actions get themselves or others seriously injured. 

A recent study by ValuePenguin found that nationally South Dakotans ranked seventh most likely to die in an alcohol-related road accident. The same study also found that 40 percent of all traffic fatalities in South Dakota involve a driver who had been driving under the influence. 

What’s scarier still is that nearly 32 percent of those fatalities involve people under the age of 21. 

We, at The Collegian, are curious as to why our generation has allowed drunk driving to become so commonplace. Some argue that it’s because we’ve seen our parents, siblings or friends do it and get away with it. Some say it’s pure curiosity. 

But our Editorial Board unanimously agreed the main reason drunk driving is so prominent is because of the lack of transportation options in rural South Dakota. Nobody wants to take one for the team and be a designated driver, and small towns simply don’t provide enough reliable transportation options.

Brookings has Lyft, BATA bus and a taxi service — but BATA bus only drops off and picks up at certain spots, and Lyft and taxi services can be expensive.

We, at The Collegian feel that the reason drunk driving is so prevalent amongst our age group is because of its convenience, normalization and lack of accountability — and though we aren’t proud to admit it, we’ve all been bystanders in the manifestation of alcohol culture.

The Collegian Editorial Board meets weekly and agrees on the issue of the editorial. The editorial represents the opinion of The Collegian.