By Lt. Christian Marsh
Special to GUIDON
Drunk driving is illegal — everywhere. It not only places that driver’s life at risk but everyone around them, as well.
Many people who drink think they are not affected by alcohol due to not “feeling drunk,” but in reality, they are intoxicated and the alcohol is affecting them.
Driving a car requires the driver to be able to multi-task, or divide their attention, between various tasks in order to safely navigate from one point to another.
Driving within a marked lane, maintaining speed and being aware of stop signs or stop lights, or being able to react to another vehicle, are just some of those tasks. A person’s ability to safely do this is diminished or eliminated when they have consumed alcohol.
The inability to perform those tasks can sometimes result in their being identified, and subsequently arrested or apprehended, by law enforcement, after which they have to deal with the court systems and may have to spend more than $10,000 in legal fees and increased insurance costs to eventually be able to drive legally again.
Believe it or not, that is the better outcome for someone who has driven drunk and doesn’t make it home. In many cases, the drunk driver ends up having a traffic accident, either running into an object or another car that is unable to avoid them. These traffic accidents result in permanent disabilities and sometimes death.
The Fort Leonard Wood Traffic Section, along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would like drivers to make it to their destinations safely every day.
If someone chooses to drink, they should have a plan to make it home before they drink. This includes identifying a designated driver who will remain sober, calling a cab or using a ride-sharing service. Those who host parties or events where alcohol is being served should ensure that their guests have a safe way to get home.
For those drivers who are unfortunate to be on the road with drunk drivers, it is recommended to always wear seatbelts, as this may save their life, and be aware of other drivers. If they believe they see a drunk driver, they should maintain a safe distance from the vehicle and call 911.
Additional resources are available at https://www.nhtsa.gov/campaign/drive-sober.
(Editor’s note: Marsh is the traffic management and collision investigations officer-in-charge.)