Waterville, Maine: Where The Designated Driver Is A Criminal

Friends don’t let friends drive drunk, right? Wrong! At least if you’re in Waterville, Maine where the police arrest designated drivers:

“Five more Colby College students were summonsed over the weekend and charged with possession of alcohol by a minor — this, after nine Colby students were charged Friday with similar offenses.

The increase in alcohol-related incidents have prompted police to crack down on designated drivers by vowing to charge them with furnishing a place for a minor to consume, according to both police Chief John E. Morris and Deputy Chief Joseph P. Massey.

“The number of alcohol-related cases associated with Colby students has been on the rise,” Morris said Monday. “My fear is that we’re heading toward a significant injury or death by students who are binge drinking. It appears that all of the police and Colby efforts in the area of education are failing.”

Colby spokesman Stephen R. Collins said Monday that the college administration shares Morris’ and Massey’s concerns and also is working to prevent a tragedy.

“Colby is committed to teaching students about the dangers of alcohol misuse and has ongoing programs of education and intervention,” Collins said. “Colby does not condone consumption of alcohol by people who are under 21 and we have policies in place to discourage infractions. There is no haven for underage drinking.”

Furnishing a place for minors to consume is a criminal offense misdemeanor, punishable by a minimum of $500 and possible jail time, according to police.

Massey said that about 11 p.m. Saturday, Officer Andy York stopped a car for speeding on First Rangeway and when he approached the vehicle, noticed the smell of alcohol coming from inside the car. The driver, a Colby student who was under 21, was not summonsed as he had not been drinking, according to Massey, but his three passengers — all Colby students — Adam Salamon, 19, of Lexington, Mass., Matthew Warshaw, 20, of Wellesley, Mass., and Eric Holstein, 18, of Hudson, N.Y., were summonsed for possession of alcohol by a minor.

…But now, drivers will be charged, according to Morris and Massey.

“The police have been forced into a position where we must increase enforcement efforts in the Colby area before somebody gets hurt,” Massey said.”

So because they’re worried about a “significant injury or death by students who are binge drinking,” they’re essentially going to go after the sober people who are driving the drunks home? How much sense does this really make?

Is the idea here supposed to be that if students can’t get a designated driver, they’re not going to drink? Doesn’t previous experience tell us that they’re still going to drink, but now it’s more likely that they’re going to drive home? Is that not the reason that colleges and groups like MADD hammer home the designated driver concept, because they’ve found it saves lives?

But now that the “genius twins,” Morris and Massey, have made a sober 18 year old who takes his drunk friends out to a club into a criminal, what you’re going to see instead are sloppy drunk kids getting behind the wheel and weaving all over the road. The number of underage kids drinking? That probably won’t change much. But the number of traffic accidents caused by drunk drivers? Look for a big increase there. Great going, guys — that’s real smart thinking…

Hat tip to The Agitator for the story.

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