The UCF Police Department discussed the true cost of DUI and the consequences students could face, at an event in the Student Union Thursday.
At the discussion, led by Cpl. Frank Imparato of the UCFPD, students were shown how a field sobriety test is done and how officers conduct a DUI arrest.
“There are three exercises we utilize to validate an arrest, we have the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the walk and turn exercise, and the one-leg stand exercise,” Imparato said.
Students will face serious consequences if charged with a DUI, including jail time, license suspension, a victim impact panel, and potentially having an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle. The interlock device is a breath analyzer that’s installed on the ignition system to check an individual’s breath for alcohol and prevent the vehicle from starting if someone is drunk.
In addition, The Office of Student Conduct will impose sanctions as they see fit based upon the nature of the offense.
Guest speaker Bill DeMott, the father of UCF student Keri Ann DeMott who was killed in 2015 by a drunk driver, said he was home sleeping when he was alerted that his daughter was not home.
“I remembered my oldest daughter woke me up and said [Keri] she wasn’t home, and as a parent you know where your child should be at three in the morning. I got right in my truck and left,” DeMott said. “About halfway there I got a call from Highway Patrol and they said my daughter was in an accident, and I should pull over; they said she was in a crash and she didn’t make it.”
DeMott said he stopped everything, including his career because he knew who his daughter was and what she was going to do with her life. DeMott said his daughter was a hard worker and volunteered at every Sunday school for their church, and he wants to keep her memory alive.
The DeMott family later created the Keri Ann DeMott Foundation in hopes of ending drunk, impaired, and distracted driving.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the number of alcohol-related crashes in Florida decreased from 417 fatalities in 2016 to 350 in 2017. From 2016 to 2017, fatalities decreased by just over 16 percent and non-fatal injuries decreased by almost 4 percent.
Coral Chico, 18-year-old freshmen business major, attended the discussion and said she has never driven while intoxicated and uses alternative forms of transportation to get home.
“Honestly leaving here this makes me want to reach out to people who I know that have drunk driven in the past and just share what I learned today,” Chico said. “You know it’s honestly not worth the amount of consequences and risk that you’re taking just to do a small drive home.”
For students who may need assistance getting home, the Student Government has partnered with Lyft for safe and reliable rides. This safe ride program provides students with a $7.50 credit per ride for up to 2 rides per month, according to the Student Government website.