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Sunday, December 21, 2014

College students prone to DWI

2
By Zach Gould / New Mexico Daily Lobo

Michelle Tarin and Kaela Pearson look at photos from earlier in the night on the Party Trolley. The Party Trolley is a group of taxi service for the University, Nob Hill, and Downtown areas.

According to a New Mexico Department of Transportation study, college-aged drivers made up about 24 percent of total DWI citations in 2010.

Robert Archuleta, the enforcement bureau chief for the New Mexico Department of Transportation traffic safety bureau, said college-aged drivers are the target audience for anti-DWI campaigns because of their frequent risky behavior, like drinking and driving.

“Those are your young males, mostly, who are within that age range, and they are out drinking, going to college, or working,” he said. “And they aren’t quite in that mature age range when people start settling down.”

In 2009, college-aged drivers made up about 25 percent of total DWI citations according to the State Department of Transportation (DOT) study.

Archuleta said though males tend to get DWI citations more than women, the number of women with citations has increased.

But, Archuleta said the instances of fatalities due to drunk driving have gone down in New Mexico. He said New Mexico is no longer in the top 10 in the nation for alcohol-related fatalities.

Joshua Asplen works at a company called Street Guardians, which drives people and their cars home after a night of drinking.

For example, he said he and a friend would show up in one vehicle. He would drive the intoxicated person home in his or her vehicle while his friend follows. Once home, his friend drives the two of them to the next call.

Asplen said Street Guardians also has street scooters that fold up to fit in the trunk of the car they’re driving home.

Asplen said Steel Guardians charges $10 per pickup and $2 a mile after that. It costs about $18-20 for a ride from downtown, he said.

UNM student Paul Aitken gave students another option to avoid drinking and driving with the Party Trolley, which began offering rides this summer.

“This is a shared-ride carrier,” he said. “So you are sharing the price of transportation and so we charge individual fares.”

The charge to ride the party trolley is $5 if you have cash and $5.50 if you want to pay by credit or debit card.

“The legal statues for a shared-ride carrier say that I have to have a zone, and that’s a grid structure,” he said. “So we have our Zone 1, and that is from 12th Street to San Pedro and Gibson to I-40, so that is $5. Then if you want to go farther out, that adds $2.50 additional per rider.”

The Party Trolley will pick customers up at their house and then take them to drop spots in either Nob Hill or Downtown. The Nob Hill drop spot is in front of Imbibe and the downtown drop spot is on Central Avenue and Third Street.

The vibe on the Party Trolley is just that, a party. With black leather seats that are larger than airplane seats, chalkboard paint on the roof and walls and several flat-screen TV’s on the inside and outside of the Party Trolley, Aitken said people sometimes enjoy the ride more than the party they might be going to, even though alcohol is not allowed on the bus.

“We had a request that we could drive people around for 30 extra minutes to just drive around and party,” he said. “There should be a way to have guilt-free drinking. So, we can go out, have fun and not worry about anything and there is a cheap, safe efficient way to get home.”

_If you are drunk
and need a ride
home, call _

*Street Guardians *

at
(505) 881-SAFE

To reserve a space on the Party Trolley call 505-433-7386