Drinking and driving is irrational behavior

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 10, 2010

April is a big month for students across the River Parishes.

Next week, public school students will be taking the second half of the state standardized tests that determine whether they will be able to move onto the next phase of their education. And for high school seniors, April is a time when most look forward to graduation and prom — and the festivities that accompany both.

Unsurprisingly, April is also National Alcohol Awareness Month.

According to Narconon International, an estimated 7.2 percent of 16 and 17 year olds and 16.7 percent of 18 to 20 year olds reported driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year.

Young people today have an exceeding amount of pressure on them coming from all directions. Peer pressure to be part of the group and pressure from parents and educators to achieve are just a couple of stresses put on the modern teen’s life. Such pressure may make even the most steadfast of young adults crack.

Getting behind the wheel while impaired, however, can have serious and lifelong consequences.

A first DWI conviction in Louisiana carries a penalty of up to a $1,000 fine and six months in prison. Additionally, those under the age of 21 who are convicted of such an offense can lose their driving privileges for six months.

And that really is a best-case scenario.

Last week, a presentation was held at St. Charles Catholic High School for all juniors and seniors in St. John the Baptist Parish depicting more serious consequences for driving drunk. These included manslaughter and felony arrests.

For those in their late-teen years, navigating life’s pitfalls is hard enough without the financial and social burdens that accompany a DWI conviction.

There are many options for celebrating the end of one’s high school education. Make sure drunk driving is not one of them.