DUI statistics are a deadly reality

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Ben Kifer
  • Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program
One out of three - those are the odds you have of being involved in an alcohol related car crash at some point in your life. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 36 people in the United States die, and approximately 700 more are injured every day in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. Last year alone approximately 1.4 million people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. To date, almost 13,000 drunken driving deaths have occurred this year. Each one of those deaths was preventable. 

It's easy to disregard these dry statistics, but when you put them into perspective and recognize that they represent real people and real lives, most people can grasp the seriousness of this issue. It is absolutely astounding that with all this public knowledge, people still decide to gamble with their lives and the lives of others. 

Far too often people try to play the numbers game and assume they're fine to drive. People believe that given enough time, plus the amount of drinks consumed, they can get themselves under the "legal limit" and able to drive. However what they don't realize is that the "legal limit" is essentially a myth. A person can be arrested and convicted of a DUI after consuming any amount of alcohol. 

A DUI charge is based upon impairment, not consumption. In the state of Nebraska there's no particular alcohol level that needs to be reached for a common-law Nebraska DUI conviction. It's simply a question of whether or not the driver's impairment can be shown by driving pattern, field sobriety test performance, the physical appearance of the driver or chemical test results. Given this, it's safe to assume you can be arrested and convicted of a DUI after only one drink. 

So what might the consequences be for the person behind the wheel driving drunk? Assuming the alcohol impaired driver is still alive at the end of the night, he or she faces serious legal action and punishment. 

A typical DUI arrest results in thousands of dollars in fines and fees, loss of driver's license, probable cancellation of car insurance and jail-time ranging anywhere from seven days to a year. Not to mention all the disciplinary actions you'll likely receive from the military such as loss in rank, loss in pay, extra duty and possible discharge. 

The solution to this problem is so simple. If you plan on having any amount of alcohol, don't plan on driving. Especially during the holiday season when DUI's are at an all-time high, take steps to make sure you and everyone you celebrate with don't drive under the influence of alcohol. Following these easy tips can help ensure you, your loved ones, your friends and others on the road stay safe this holiday season: 

·   Plan ahead and designate a driver before the party or celebration begins or volunteer  
     to be the designated driver.
·   Never condone or approve of excessive alcohol consumption. Intoxicated behavior is 
·   Don't ever let your friends or family drive drunk. Take their keys, have them stay the 
    night, have them ride home with someone else, call a cab or do whatever else is 
    necessary - just don't let them drive!
·   If you need a safe ride home, call Airman Against Drunk Driving at 294-AADD (2233) 
    or Happy Cab at 333-8294.

At the end of the day, there are no valid excuses for drinking and driving. If we all do our part, we can work to reduce DUI statistics and make the holiday season safer for everyone. No one should have to spend their holiday in a jail, in a hospital or in a morgue.