While it’s common knowledge that drunk driving is dangerous, about 30 people each day die in car wrecks caused by impaired drivers. That number almost skyrockets during the holiday season, and younger adults are especially vulnerable to driving under the influence and having car collisions as a result.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have discovered that, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, about 728 people are hurt or killed in drunk driving related accidents each day. The day before Thanksgiving is now so popular for binge drinking that it’s been dubbed “Blackout Wednesday.”
In order to raise awareness about driving under the influence during the holiday season, Alpha Phi Sigma teamed up with the Office of Health and Wellness and launched their “Free Caffeine to Drive Clean” campaign. On Tuesday, Dec. 1, free coffee was given to anyone who signed a pledge to drive sober in the coming holiday season. The pitchers ran dry, but plenty of names found their way on the pledge poster.
This was the inaugural appearance of Free Caffeine, as it was developed earlier in the semester as a chance to promote public safety.
“We’ve just been trying, as an organization, to get our name out there a little bit more and get involved on campus,” Alyssa Devine, president of Alpha Phi Sigma, said. Alpha Phi Sigma also runs Public Safety Career Day, last held on Sept. 23.
Clusters of people swarmed the pair of tables set up in the campus center, eager to sign their names and receive a tasty drink. Both regular and decaf coffee were available, but the creamer ran dry before anything else.
Coffee was selected to act as an incentive for a number of reasons besides being delicious, cheap, and the lifeblood of college students. It’s a catchy slogan and drinkers know the correlation between coffee and sobriety. But the coffee itself wasn’t a priority over spreading public safety awareness.
“We’re advocating for not drinking and driving, not necessarily that coffee makes you more sober,” Devine said.
Although not personally affected by drunk driving, Devine was confident in Free Caffeine’s cause of promoting a safe and happy holiday season.
“I thought it was a timely issue, just because we’re coming up on the holidays, and people are going to be going home and drinking with friends and family to celebrate,” Devine said.
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