A Concordia University Texas student-led group called CTX Alive has adopted a peer-to-peer program to educate students on the risks of impaired driving called U in the Driver Seat.
About 2,600 students account for the local total enrollment of Concordia and about 1,800 college-age students die annually from drinking and driving, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Starkly, the death toll represents 69 percent of the school’s total population.
The numbers have captured the attention of CTX Alive, a health and safety organization on the local Four Points campus.
Using the U in the Driver Seat peer-based platform, student leaders take a personal approach to promote what they consider practical tactics in avoidance of statistical risk.
Xzavier Beacham, a senior communication major from Arlington and vice president of CTX Alive, said, “Adults can talk to me about the dangers of drinking and driving, but I look at them and I know they did it. So I think, ‘Well, you’re still here.’”
Leslie Leal, a senior business management major from Houston and CTX Alive president, said, “We don’t tell them not to drink, because we know they will. What we give them is information and options so they can make a better decision before getting behind the wheel of a car.”
CTX has partnered with Concordia Athletic Ambassadors to set up information booths at campus events, such as the annual August “Welcome Party” and the safety awareness celebration, National Night Out.
They have distributed brochures and fact sheets with details like alcohol tolerance levels based on body weight, water intake to balance alcohol intake, and a directory of where to go for professional help and services. Also, U in the Driver Seat suggests options like party games that do not involve alcohol and proactive behaviors such as collecting car keys as guests enter a party. Beacham noted, “When it’s time to leave, the guy who’s drunk is less likely to argue over someone else driving him home because he’s already given up his keys.”
“We also tell them about Circle of 6,” Leal said. “It’s a phone app that connects quickly with six of your friends. You press the app to let them know you need a driver or if you’re in any kind of trouble and need help. It notifies them to come get you or contact you so you can have an excuse to leave, to get out of a bad situation.”
Most recently, U in the Driver Seat leaders set out small red flags in a grassy, central campus spot to symbolize the number of college students who have lost their lives to drinking and driving. Beacham said, “It affects people to see it (the display). They know the flags represent college students like themselves. It makes them think that it could be them.”