Some view ‘drunk bus’ as useful tool in preventing student drunk driving

John Kurecki, Features Reporter

As collegiate drunk driving continues to be a major problem across the country, some universities are looking for alternative solutions to the seemingly endemic challenge. One such proposal involves regular sponsored transit between various nightlife locations and campus.

For example, Western Kentucky University’s Purple Line runs Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings until early the next morning, transporting riders between various downtown locations and school housing.

Currently, UIS does not have any plans to implement such a service. Student Government Association President Josh Lawson confirmed that he was not aware of any such initiatives, explaining that its implementation could prove a costly challenge.

Some of the current student transport programs at UIS include a shuttle between various shopping locations, free transportation to and from the train station and airport during the year’s most popular travel periods, and free transportation between campus and urgent care providers in Springfield for instances where an ambulance is not necessary.

UIS student Rachel Patterson feels that transportation would be great for students on campus. “I think that having nighttime transportation for UIS students would be useful. For those that don’t have cars, it would save us money instead of having to hail taxis or Uber; all the while giving us confidence that we would be safely dropped off at school,” said Patterson.

The UIS Counseling Center implores students not to get behind the wheel while intoxicated; a statement on the center’s webpage reads, “Remember, driving sober is the only way to truly enjoy the benefits of driving. Driving sober allows you to maintain control over your life, and brings wisdom in knowing that you are doing everything in your power to reduce the risk of injuring yourself and others.”

As it stands, students without travel plans can be transported by one of Springfield’s cab services, including Uber, which is still a relatively new choice. The Springfield Mass Transit District’s current night service between UIS and downtown only runs on weekdays and ends before midnight.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) alleges that college drinking has become a significant issue.

The NIAAA cites research by Ralph Hingson, Wenxing Zha, and Elissa Weitzman, whose study concludes, “The persistence of college drinking problems underscores an urgent need to implement prevention and counseling approaches identified through research to reduce alcohol-related harms among college students and other young adults.”

The UIS Police Department reports that in 2014 there were 63 “disciplinary referrals” given on campus for violations of liquor law.