Staying Safe During the Holidays

Do you have any idea what the number 10,839 represents? It is the number of people killed by an impaired driver in the United States last year.  In Arizona (AZ) alone, there were over 14,000 arrests made in 2009 for those driving while under-the-influence; and 4,500 of these came between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.  Unfortunately, the holiday season is notorious for examples of people having one more drink at the office party, or enjoying an extra cocktail with a friend while remembering old times, or maybe just making a poor decision because of reduced judgment.

The Drunk Driving Fines and Penalties in Arizona range from the 1st offense having a base fee of $250 with a number of additional charges possible, to jail time with a minimum of 24 hours up to 10 days, or license suspension from 90 to 360 days.  The court may also order the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device. Obviously, if it is the 2nd or 3rd conviction, the penalties drastically increase.  The measurement of 0.08 percent Blood Alcohol Concentration is the standard measurement used to determine if a driver is “impaired.” There is not an exact answer if you are wondering how many drinks would result in this measurement of 0.08.  Each individual has different characteristics that result in a different amount of alcohol needed to reach that measurement.  It really takes very little alcohol to make a person legally drunk, and so it is best not to drink before driving.

This holiday make good choices for yourself, your family, and for others.  Taking that extra drink begins with a choice and can end with a tragedy that could have been prevented.  Remember that the Arizona DUI Task Force, which began 20 years ago when two officers were killed by a drunk driver, is increasing their number of officers and setting up routine checkpoints to help make this a safer holiday season for all. Drive Safely!

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