Morgantown is famous for it’s alcohol consumption. You may have heard the popular phrase, “A drinking town with a football problem” used to describe it, and with the way our football season has been going, it’s pretty true. You may have also heard the phrase, “Win or lose, we still booze”—also true.
But, game day isn’t the only time students and residents binge drink. WVU has a reputation as the number one party school in the nation. The average student will spend an average of $900 per year on alcohol, that’s almost more than the cost of books for Fall and Spring semester.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “Drive sober or get pulled over.” Why do people make such a big deal out of driving under the influence? Drunk driving is the most frequently committed crime and therefore is always relevant. An alcohol-related crash kills one person every 31 minutes and injures one person every two minutes. We know drinking and driving is wrong, yet many choose to do it anyway.
Don’t think it’s a problem at WVU? Wrong. In fact, just early Sunday morning, WVU Football player Travis Bell was arrested for DUI. After conducting a survey of 45 students on their drinking and driving habits, nearly 56 percent of respondents admitted to driving while under the influence of alcohol. Seventy percent of those respondents said they only allow themselves two drinks before driving home. The problem with this is that everyone has a different alcohol tolerance level.
Blood Alcohol Content percentages vary from state to state. Morgantown is a primarily a transient city–especially with the college students in and out each semester. In West Virginia, a blood alcohol content level of .02 percent if you’re under the age of 21, a BAC of .08 percent if you’re over the age of 21 or a commercial BAC of .04 percent could land you a DUI. A first offense could cause you jail time for up to six months or a fine from $100 to $1000 depending on your BAC or even a license suspension. Additionally, refusal to take a DUI chemical test results in an automatic license suspension. In the month of October alone, the City of Morgantown cited 29 DUIs. Since the beginning of November, WVU police have cited four DUIs. If you look through these reports you’ll find that DUI isn’t just a weekend problem. In October, there was a DUI reported on nearly every day of the week.
One thing many people don’t realize is that just because you slept for a few hours doesn’t mean you’ll be sober when you wake up. You can still get pulled over for DUI the morning after a night of partying if you drive and your BAC is too high.
According to the survey, students are trying to be safer. Nearly 45 percent of students said they make sure they have a designated driver before they go out. Additionally, five percent say they take a bus or a taxi, 28 percent say they walk, and six percent say they call someone. However, even with all of these alternatives, 11 percent of WVU students still say they choose to drive under the influence.There are now other alternatives offered at WVU. Dub V Safe Ride is trying to help solve the DUI problem here in Morgantown. The service offers drivers who ride a foldable scooter. When contacted via the Dub V Safe ride app, the driver rides the scooter to pick up the drunk student, folds up the scooter puts it in the trunk of the car, and drives the student and their car home safely. Then, the Dub V Safe Ride driver hops back on the scooter and goes to save the next drunk student. The program services all of Morgantown and its surrounding areas. You can even make reservations for long distance calls to Fairmont, Uniontown, and Washington, PA.