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Before the rush of excitement for the beginning of fall classes, many students used the last weekend of the summer to celebrate their freedom.

With that being the case, it was perfectly logical for the UCF Police Department and the Florida Highway Patrol to set up a DUI checkpoint along Alafaya Trail that Friday.

If you were in the area on Aug. 21 you would have noticed the flashing road sign that read, “Underage? Under Arrest!”

Incoming freshmen need to be extremely aware of the crackdown UCF now has on underage drinking. If you think your fake ID is flawless, think again. We can’t pretend that underage drinking doesn’t exist, but all college students need to be responsible when it comes to consuming alcohol.

When students are celebrating their newfound freedom, they are not celebrating the fact that they don’t have any more rules to follow.

Although their parents are no longer able to keep them under strict limits, students need to take the responsibility that goes hand in hand with going to college.

It’s been under speculation whether UCF should provide a taxi service for students who want to toss back a few at the nearby bars. Being in college means you’re trusted to make adult decisions and to know your limitations. There are also plenty of taxi services, such as Uber, Supreme Taxi Orlando and 10/10 Taxi, which has a flat rate of only $10 within a five-mile radius, that are affordable for college students.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the UCF area is No. 1 for underage DUI problems. In 2013, more than 200 students were charged with driving under the influence — a 48 percent increase from 2012.

This is a serious problem. The best thing to do is simple: If you’re not 21, don’t drink.

But if you’re underage and you’re going to take part in this activity that, let’s face it, is pretty much college tradition, then do yourself and everyone a favor and consume your alcoholic beverages at a dorm or a house party.

This prevents you from harming others while drinking and driving and ultimately saves you the embarrassment from being arrested while holding your fake ID.

Knowing your limits is the first step to consuming alcohol. Those who aren’t sure should stick to one or two drinks in order to keep their composure and make smart decisions.

It’s also very important to eat before you drink. Trust me, you don’t want a cocktail or two being the only thing swimming around your stomach.

Most people are under the misconception that food will also sober you up, but the only thing that can actually stimulate your sobriety is time. So if you feel the effects of alcohol early on, be responsible and stop drinking.

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Tiffani Daniel is a contributing writer for the Central Florida Future.

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