Tech Sgt. Costello Williams, Senior Airman Pat Hinkel and Airman 1st Class Nikolas Nicely from the 99th Security Force Squadron simulate detaining Airman 1st Class Brett Clashman for a possible DUI. The simulation was done to show the consequences of Driving under the Influence of Alcohol.(U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Tech. Sgt Michael R. Holzworth)
by Airman 1st Class Michael Charles
Nellis Air Force Base Public Affairs
9/4/2009 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- The military has a zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol or any other drug that may impair the driver and endanger themselves and the people driving around them.
Every year military members jeopardize their lives by taking unnecessary risks in driving drunk. These poor decisions have led to more than 14,000 alcohol related motor vehicle deaths in 2008 according to the Department of Transportation. Driving under the influence is life-threatening not only to the drivers but also to pedestrians on the road. According to the Department of Transportation, 44 percent of all traffic accidents in the United States are alcohol related.
Driving and driving also has serious repercussions on the careers of Airmen. The penalties for a DUI while serving in the military can be even harsher than in the civilian world. Consequences for drunk driving can range from a letter of reprimand to a court martial depending on the severity of the offense as well as a suspension from driving for a varied period of time
According to a Reader's Digest poll people tend to think having a blood alcohol content of .08 percent (the legal BAC limit) is the only thing that can warrant an arrest for a DUI. In actuality this blood alcohol limit is a measure used to determine when a person is automatically assumed guilty without need of any further evidence of impairment. It is possible for an individual whose blood alcohol level is well below the legal limit to be arrested for DUI.
There are many other determining factors that may lead police officers to arrest a person for driving under the influence. These reasons include failing a sobriety test, driving erratically and showing significant signs of impairment.
Although it is not illegal to drink alcohol, certain steps should be taken in the event an individual decides to drink to ensure the safety of the person drinking and the people who may encounter the individual. Making sure adequate transportation is available may be one of the most important steps to take before deciding to drink alcohol. Options such as designated drivers, Airmen Against Drunk Driving (AADD), the downtown shuttle service and taxi's exist as avenues for avoiding driving if you have been drinking.
The wingman concept can also be applied as a step towards alcohol safety. By drinking near individuals who you know and will take care of you should something happen, you may be avoiding some of the dangers and influences associated with alcohol consumption
DUI's are an easy way to throw away your career or your life. Take steps to ensure the safety of everyone. Parties can be just as fun with safety included.