Transportation alternatives limit incidents of drunk driving on campus


The number of inhibited driving incidents at Lehigh has decreased in the last year.

Lora Martin, a Lehigh University Police Department patrol officer, said in 2016, there were 15 cases of driving under the influence within LUPD’s patrol parameters. Of these 15, only one of those incidents was a Lehigh student operating a vehicle while intoxicated or impaired by some other substance.

In 2017, there was a 33 percent drop from 15 to 10 cases of driving while under the influence. Only two of these 10 incidents involved Lehigh students driving while affected by drugs or alcohol.

Though the campus presents some physical challenges given its hilly terrain, Julia Wise, ’20, the president of Gamma Phi Beta, said that there are enough options available for students to limit drunk driving.

“Inhibited driving is certainly a problem nationally,” Wise said. “However, the way our campus is structured does not frequently provide students with the option to drive under the influence, especially within the Greek system as students can walk to and from social events pretty easily.”

Students have been finding new transportation options on and around campus, leading to a decrease in driviing while under the influence. Services such as Uber and Lyft enable students to find ways to get home safely. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Diablanco)

Wise said services such as Uber and Lyft are easily accessible on campus and decrease the likelihood of students choosing to drink and drive.

Although inhibited driving is a problem on some college campuses, Martin said inhibited driving has never been a substantial problem for LUPD.

“When vehicles are stopped by officers, it is oftentimes due to drivers forgetting to have their lights on,” Martin said. “For the most part, students do a fantastic job with the party scene figuring out designated drivers to get students home safely.”

However, Martin said some students might have different perceptions about what it means to drive under the influence. She said driving under the influence of alcohol and driving under the influence of marijuana are both punishable by law.

Martin said LUPD has not had a large issue with students driving under the influence of marijuana.

Nicole Kirven, ’20, the president of Alpha Phi, said students have recognized the severity of driving while intoxicated and continue to use ride-hailing services to get home safely.

“People do not feel the need or pressure to drunk drive because there is almost always an Uber or Lyft that can bring you where you need to go for a very reasonable price,” Kirven said. “It is really not an issue that I worry about with my friends or others in the Greek life community because I truly believe that people have finally started to understand that drunk driving is extremely dangerous and there is no need for it.”

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