base information

DUI prevention starts before drinking

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- As Airmen, we have all heard many briefs on the topic of drunk driving. We could probably even remember the important highlights from all of them. However, the severity and consequences of drunk driving does not hit home until one has actually been there.

I know what it is like to be there because I was recently arrested for a DUI, and would like to pass on some firsthand knowledge and advice.

Mountain Home AFB had seven DUI's in the first six weeks of 2010. The message about drunk driving is not getting across and this trend needs to stop. There are a couple of easy steps you can take to make your night of drinking both enjoyable and safe.

DUI prevention starts before drinking starts. You need to develop a plan before you start drinking and stick to it. This is the key to having a safe and fun night.

The Airmen recently charged with DUI's at Mountain Home had solid plans, but decided after drinking to deviate from their plans. This cannot happen. The plan needs to be developed before the drinking commences and your judgment becomes impaired. We have all heard the standard plans such as taking a cab home or staying at a friend's house. These are good plans for many individuals, but some people need a more fool-proof plan in case they start to veer off track. I would like to offer these as alternatives:

- Take a cab downtown, so there is no way for you to drive your car home.

- Place your car keys and house keys on separate key chains and locking the car keys in the car. Make sure you have a spare set of keys at home, and there is no way for you to get into the car.

- Utilize the double taxi offered in Boise. With the double taxi, two cab drivers show up. One taxi drives you home and the other drives your car home. It costs the price of two taxis, but your car is home the next morning.

- If you are one of those people who never has cash on them, try leaving $20 or $40 at home. When you arrive home, you will have cash to pay the taxi driver.

No matter which plan you decide to use before the night begins, stick to that plan and you will arrive home safe at the end of the night!

After you have come up with your plan, think for five minutes if this plan is adequate for those involved. Take a step back and assess everything that may affect your plan.

Not all plans work for every situation, so you should think about all the factors included in your plan.

Do you have to be somewhere the next morning? Maybe you shouldn't go out or you should volunteer to be a designated driver for your friends. Maybe leaving your car downtown will not work and you should take a cab out and a cab home. Before you become occupied in the evening, think about all the factors that could cause changes. Make sure there is no reason for you to deviate from your plan.

Be responsible when drinking. Limit your intake to a reasonable level. Watch out for friends. Don't put yourself or others into bad situations or situations that again make you change your original plan. Remember that tolerance and BAC are a lot like a horse and penguin; not related in any way shape or form. You may have a high tolerance, but that does not change the amount of alcohol in your system. BAC is a measure of grams of Ethyl Alcohol per 100 ml of blood. A standard drink (12 oz of 5 percent beer, 1.5 oz. of liquor, or 5 oz. of wine) will increase your BAC, whether you can feel the effects or not.

We depend on each other at work, why should this be any different when we are away from work? When you go out drinking with friends, treat your group as a team and stick together. Don't let your wingman wander off. Back each other up and don't be afraid to call a "knock it off" if someone on your team is by themselves or trying to change the plan. If you leave as a team, come home as a team. Make sure no man is left behind.

When the night is starting to conclude, fall back onto your plan that was developed hours earlier before the drinking began. Stick to this plan and you will make it home safe. Besides the monetary costs, embarrassment, loss of personal time/driving, privileges/rank, and community service; drinking and driving puts your life at risk, as well as the lives of the other drivers on the road.

Be Safe, Have Fun and Have a Plan.