Manila students urged to be safe during prom week

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Manila High School students received facts on the consequences of drinking and driving on Monday morning in conjunction with prom week.

Sherry Felts, Farm Bureau Women's Committee, and Jason Kaufman, Farm Bureau Safety Coordinator, visit with Manila High School Students during prom week. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Jason Kaufman, safety coordinator with Farm Bureau, was the guest speaker for the assembly. Also present were Sherry Felts, Farm Bureau Women's Committee, and Mark Bryles with Mississippi County Farm Bureau.

High School Principal Robin Baugher introduced Mr. Kaufman and thanked him and Farm Bureau for the programs they share with the local high schools.

"This is prom week and our goal is for everyone here to have a fun, safe weekend," Kaufman said. "We do not want your prom weekend ruined by making mistakes."

Kaufman started out informing the high school students of the DWI law for adults over 21. He told them anything greater than .08 alcohol levels (about three drinks) are over the limit for adults 21 and over. With underage drivers .02 or greater (one drink) will exceed the limit for DUI.

The consequences of drinking and driving can be very expensive. The 1st offence of DUI will get community service; fine from $100 to $500; license suspended for 90 days; and alcohol/driving education classes mandatory. The second offense will be community service fine from $200 to $1,000; license suspended for one year and mandatory alcohol/driving education classes. The third offence will be community service, 4500 to $2,000 fine, three years license suspended (or until 21).

"Worse than the money cost is the loss of lives," Kaufman said. There was 650 traffic related fatalities in 2007 with 276 alcohol related. There were 40,000 DWI charges in 2007.

He told the young people additional costs include towing, court costs, fines, license renewal, alcohol classes, lawyer fees, insurance increase. He gave an estimate of over $4,000.

"A lot of insurance companies, Farm Bureau included, will drop you if you get a DWI," he said.

He cautioned the young people to make good decisions.

"There is one death every 40 minutes in drinking related accidents," Kaufman said.

He went on to give statistics why the legal age of drinking is 21, not 18. He shared several myths associated with drinking.

"The fact is alcohol kills more young people than drugs," he said. "If you get a DUI you risk the loss of a college scholarship, job opportunities and much more. The biggest factor is losing your life or taking the lives of others. When you choose to drink and drive you are putting the people in this room in jeopardy. Don't give into peer pressure. Be smart out there. If you see others messing up, don't hesitate to go to them and warn them."

Baugher thanked Kaufman for the program, and encouraged the young people to listen to what had been said.

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