Drunk driving... it wouldn't happen to me!
With the holidays approaching, most people think about spending time with friends and family. Rarely do we think, “This will be the year I am arrested for driving under the influence,” or “This is the holiday season when my life tragically changes as a result of a drunk driver.”
Having seen the results of driving under the influence (DUI)—either as a result of alcohol or drugs—Police Officers, Deputies and CHP Officers are passionate about getting compromised drivers off the streets. These officers don’t want to be mean or unfair; instead they are committed to preventing horrific accidents that leave gaping holes in the lives of those involved.
These horrific accidents cannot be undone. Officers have seen this first hand and are dedicated to preventing drunk drivers from hurting themselves or others.
So, if they seem a little inflexible about drunk driving, consider the reasons why.
When folks plan to go to a holiday party where drinking is expected, they often designate a driver, someone to stay sober and get everyone home safely.
Sometimes, however, dinner with friends can include one drink too many, and lead to an awkward, unplanned situation.
How do I get home? What do I say to my kids about why our car is still at our friend’s house? How do I get to my appointment the next morning without a car? How do I explain to my parents that I didn’t bring the family car home?
People arrested for DUI are young and old, parents and single adults, upstanding citizens and repeat offenders. It is up to us all to recognize and try and prevent DUI’s from occurring.
And, DUIs are expensive.
In Mendocino County, a person’s first DUI would cost them about $2,700 in court fines and fees, 48 hours in jail, the time it takes to participate in and complete an alcohol program, additional attorney’s fees, and loss of your driver’s license for a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of six months. And all of this would be getting off cheap compared the cost of ruining or taking a life as a result of an accident while under the influence.
DUIs can be prevented; it just takes a little planning.
How? Always designate a driver, even if you’re just going to dinner. Decide at the beginning of every holiday event who will drive home. If you are with friends who have not planned well and it appears they should not be driving home, don’t take “no” for an answer. Figure out a way to get them (and if possible, their vehicle) home safely.
I know this can be tough. It’s hard to tell a friend or family member that they shouldn’t drive, especially after a few drinks when they’ve become a little belligerent or overconfident in their driving abilities. Standing up to them can be awkward for you and embarrassing for them; but take it from me, it’s worth it. Attending their funeral or visiting them in jail is a lot more awkward.
As always, our department’s mission is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have any suggestions or comments about how we can improve, please feel free to call me, complete our online survey, or leave a crime tip on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.
This Thanksgiving, I wish you all many happy times, fun celebrations, special moments with people you care about, and most of all, a safe and healthy season that you can look back on with the fondest of memories.
And please… help us keep drunk drivers off our roads.