Is it really worth the hype?
By Angela Brooks, Journalism 107 Correspondent
Spring break is easily the most glorified of the school breaks, but is it really necessary? There has been movie after movie praising spring break, the final getaway before summer, the last hoorah before the semester is over. Sure, warmer weather and endless alcohol supply sounds nice in theory, but lately studies have shown that spring break is becoming more and more dangerous.
Popular destinations include mainly cities in Mexico and Florida, anywhere the sun is shining and nobody cares if you’re old enough to drink. High school and college students alike are no match for irresponsibility. There are a plethora of things that can go wrong whilst under the influence or simply just being careless. Every year after spring break, we hear about the students missing, the overdoses, the rape cases and unfortunately, the deaths.
Time magazine published an insightful article about spring break related traffic deaths in 2015. Professor of health economics at the University of Miami (UM), and one of the authors of the study, Michael T. French said “We found that between the last week of February and the first week of April, a significantly greater number of traffic fatalities occurred in spring break hot spots compared to other locations in the same states and at other times of the year.” The study collected crash data from 14 popular spring break destinations located in 7 different states. French and his fellow researchers concluded, “death tolls were 9.1 percent higher during spring break in these destinations, with a higher fatality incidence among drivers under 25 and those traveling from out-of-state.”
The researchers also found that “there was no significant increase in traffic fatalities in non-spring break counties located in the same states as the spring break counties–supporting a true spring break effect.” With convenient car services like Lyft and Uber, it’s hard to imagine that people are still this reckless when it comes to driving while intoxicated.
It’s not all just traffic connected deaths either. A quick search into Google about ‘missing students after spring break’ showed almost 3 million hits. Perhaps the most gruesome of articles that popped up was a story from 2009 about a 17 year old student from New York who was on spring break in South Carolina. She was missing for several years before new evidence surfaced that proved she was abducted, raped, murdered and fed to alligators.
In a clever attempt to curb alcohol-related incidences, Panama City Beach banned the consumption of alcohol on the beaches during March 2016. After a much heated debate on whether this would be beneficial, local attorney Wes Pittman closed his pro-ban argument with “Do you want to be remembered by open sex on the beach? Still in our minds are shootings, rapes, stabbings, rampant drunkenness and chaos.” Pittman said blaming all the city’s spring break problems on non-students who flock to the city to profit off the drunken masses was “a convenient way to skirt the real issue.”
All things considered, it’s OK to let loose during break but just don’t be reckless. Be mindful of your environment and surround yourself with people you trust. As young adults who deserve to have fun, I know it’s hard to put your safety first when your best interests are most likely partying, but from one college student to another: be careful or stay home.