It’s a story repeated all too often: the tragic loss of a young life at the hands of a drunk driver behind the wheel. However, research says many students still aren’t really getting the message, prompting groups to bring in new messaging techniques.
Recently, an organization is using personal pictures and the story of 20 year old Cara Lee, who was killed by an intoxicated driver, to show college students the reality of what drinking behind the wheel means. Smiling baby and toddler pictures of Cara Lee are also included in a slideshow called “Do It for Cara Lee. Be the Designated Driver.”
The message comes along with the announcement that even though many students at universities and colleges know what can happen when they consume alcohol then drive, binge drinking continues to be a frequent activity on campuses nationwide.
Cara Lee’s photos are part of a project funded by the Orange County Health Care Agency meant to bring home the outcomes of intoxicated driving to thousands of students. Even police officers who worked the day Cara Lee was killed by Gustavo Vega, a drunken driver and fellow student, still comment in recent articles on the wasted life and the sheer tragedy of Cara Lee’s death.
Officers also hope the slideshow of Cara Lee will also remind drivers that using prescription medications and other substances like painkillers or sleeping pills, also contribute to driving under the influence and claim innocent lives each year.
As many as 15 percent of the students who participated in a an Orange County Health Care Agency survey said they had participated in binge drinking on a range of three to five episodes within the past month. Many students also said they don’t actively find a designated driver and some were not even familiar with what the concept of what a designated driver actually meant.