In honor of Alcohol Awareness Month, Pierce College Puyallup sponsored an event on April 30 concerning drunken driving, but despite the light atmosphere of the event, organizers stressed that drunken driving isn’t a laughing matter.
The event, titled Walk the Line, took place earlier at the Fort Steilacoom campus on April 25 before it reoccurred at the Puyallup campus. Its purpose was to educate students on the consequences of driving under the influence and encourage safe drinking and abiding by the laws of the land.
Pierce County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Pat Davidson said he arrests more than 100 drunken drivers annually and the price for driving intoxicated is severe. If no one is injured from the incident, it still results in short jail time and heavy fines. If there is a fatality, the perpetrator will receive a minimum of 10 years in jail.
“If you drink and drive in Pierce County, you are going to get caught and you are going to go to jail and get a fine,” Davidson said.
After his message, students were given the opportunity to maneuver through an obstacle course while wearing a pair of “drunken goggles” that impair vision and partially imitate intoxication.
“We hope that with this event people will come to realize that if they can’t even fill a cup with water or see where their feet are on the blue line, they can’t expect to drive home,” Health and Wellness Coordinator Katie Daniels said.
Davidson said that while it’s important to have student involvement, the educational portion of these events is crucial.
“The obstacle course is making light of drunken driving,” Davidson said. “At the end of the obstacle course, students get a high-five (for completing it). Drunken driving is not a joke.”
Daniels, who organized the event, agrees that although the event was designed to be enjoyable for students, the obstacle course is more than a fun exercise but is a method for students to experience alcohol impairment.
“Even though you receive a high-five at the end, drunken driving isn’t really fun and it has consequences,” Daniels said.
Davidson accepts that drinking is a part of society, but he stressed the importance of controlling its effects.
“Everyone will drink,” Davidson said, “but either get a designated driver or stay home. The mentality that ‘I’m only 10 blocks away from my house (is dangerous).’ It only takes 10 feet to hit someone.”
This event, funded through a grant from State Farm Insurance Corp., frequently occurs on the Pierce College campuses due to the growing impact of drunken driving.
Students interested in more information on drunken driving are encouraged to visit www.dol.wa.gov as well as look for related events in following quarters.
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