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Be smart: Alcohol and the holidays

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Steve Stanley
  • Headquarters Air Combat Command Public Affairs
Did you know you could take a limo and drink champagne all the way to the fanciest hotel in town, stagger into the best suite and still not spend as much as you would for a DUI?

DUIs are a common topic among Airmen today. Many man-hours are spent attending safety briefings, mandatory educational seminars and computer based training courses.

A DUI costs from fines are the best possible outcome. Reckless actions like these could result in life altering consequences.

In 2011, 226 children were killed in drunk driving crashes. Of those, 122 were with the drunk driver. In 2012, there was a death every 51 minutes caused by drunk driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). During the month of December alone, 830 people were killed.

Over the past 10 years, an average 39 percent of deaths that occurred around the Christmas and New Year holidays were alcohol related.

Due to these staggering facts, the month of December has been deemed National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. The purpose is to raise awareness about the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

The NHTSA's latest publication announced major holiday enforcement aimed at curbing alcohol related crashes.

Most drunk driving happens after nights spent with family and friends. That means there may be someone you trust nearby to help with an alternative method of getting you home safe.

Just accept that no matter how you feel, if you've been drinking, you don't drive.

If you are under 21, any alcohol in your system will get you put in jail and the penalties become much harsher.

Below are some safety tips that may surprise you:

· Only time can sober people up!

· A 12-ounce can of beer; a five-ounce glass of wine, a 12-ounce wine cooler and an ounce and a half of liquor contain the same amount of alcohol.

· Physical appearance is not how to determine if someone is intoxicated.

· Mixers do not dilute alcohol. Fruit juice and other sweet mixers mask the taste of alcohol and may cause people to drink more.

· Planned activities may slow down alcohol consumption.

· Designated drivers are a must.

· Eat. This will slow the increase in BAC.

· Avoid salty foods, which tend to make people thirsty and drink more.

· Offer non-alcoholic beverages for designated drivers and others who prefer not to drink alcohol.

· Carbonated drinks absorb alcohol into the blood stream faster.

· Be prepared by having the number of a taxi service and/or nearby hotel on hand.

· If someone around you has had too much to drink, drive them home, arrange for a ride with a sober friend, call a taxi, or invite them to stay over.

· Your liver works slower if you are tired, or fatigued, resulting in a higher BAC.

· Illness can lead to increased BAC levels due to dehydration causing more alcohol to enter the blood quicker.