College is often an exciting time. Getting to make new friends while experiencing the world on your own is thrilling. Every experience is new and exciting, as it should be. While you feel that you have your whole life ahead of you, it's important to remember that your actions have consequences that can leave a lasting impact. You may not realize it yet, but your life can change in the blink of an eye.
Officers arrived at the scene of an accident in North Port, Florida, on April 6, 2019. A blue SUV carrying 13 people had rolled over after losing control on a curve. Police charged the 19-year-old driver with DUI manslaughter and three counts of DUI with personal injury. The accident caused the death of one passenger after ejection from the vehicle and the hospitalization of three other teenagers ages 13, 17 and 19.
There are a few lessons to take away from this sad situation. First, the vehicle was likely carrying too many passengers for its capacity, creating several distractions for the driver and too few seatbelts for the passengers. Seatbelts are effective in reducing vehicle ejections and preventing airbag-related injuries during motor vehicle accidents. Finally, drunk driving is never acceptable.
Have fun but be responsible
The charges of DUI manslaughter and DUI with personal injury are serious. A first-time offender charged with DUI with personal injury, a first-degree misdemeanor, faces a $1,000 fine or one year in prison. The DUI manslaughter charge brings steep maximum penalties of $10,000 fine and 15 years in prison.
Certain criminal charges can affect your enrollment in school or your ability to obtain student loans. That's not to mention the penalties your parents may impose on you.
It's unlikely that the driver of the blue SUV meant to harm herself or her friends but mistakes like drinking and driving can have unintended consequences. You should enjoy your time in college, but you must do so responsibly. Don't let one mistake negatively affect you or your friends for the rest of your life.