Attorney Gordon Heuser: Springs Police Department on a Three Week Crackdown

How much antipasto does it take to counter the effects of a wine tasting?

Think you can you handle two-for-one Saki before heading home after a long day at work?

Did you take an antihistamine with your micro-brew while watching the game?

Little, seemingly harmless, indulgences can add up to big impairment. A Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08g/dL is all it takes to get arrested on a drunk-driving infraction. But a BAC of .04g/dL is all it takes to impair your brain function. So, before an after-work drink, check out this blood alcohol content chart and double check your assumptions. If you don’t have a designated driver, it would be smart to wait and enjoy happy hour at home.

Last Friday, law enforcement organizations in Colorado Springs and nationwide began a three-week crackdown on impaired driving. Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest is the 2010 Labor Day Impaired Driving Prevention National Enforcement Crackdown lead by the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA). Drunk-driving crashes have decreased over the last few years. Yet, anyone would agree, even one drunk-driving crash is too many. Nationally, 32% of fatal car accidents and other vehicle crashes involve a driver with a blood alcohol level at .08g/dL or higher. That means, in the United States, there is one fatal car accident related to drunk driving every 45 minutes.

Since 1996, the State of Colorado has been making a concerted effort to lower Driving Under the Influence (DUI) arrests and accidents. Statistics prove when a specific effort is made to catch drunk drivers, there are fewer DUI-related fatalies. The number of fatalities in Colorado involving a driver, pedestrian or cyclist with a BAC of .08g/dL or more dropped from 281 in 2001 to 173 in 2008.

Drivers of all ages and all vehicles are tempted to drink and drive. It’s a common misconception, though, that driving a two-wheeled vehicle or riding a bicycle is any less dangerous than driving a passenger vehicle while drunk. Alcohol adversely affects the skills essential to operating two-wheeled vehicles: balance and coordination. It’s down in black and white, motorcycle riders under the influence of alcohol are the drivers most likely to be killed in an accident.

Here are more stats from the NHTSA:

  • The percentage of drivers with a BAC of .08 or above involved in fatal crashes in 2008 was highest for motorcycle riders (29%), followed by drivers of light trucks (23%) and passenger cars (23%).
  • 43% of the 2,291 motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle crashes had a BAC of .08 or above.
  • The age groups of 45-49 and 40-45 years old had the highest percentage (41%) of impaired motorcycle riders (those with a BAC of .08 or higher) killed in fatal crashes.

The Colorado Springs area DUI crackdown runs through Labor Day weekend. Take this opportunity to remind young drivers, parents, neighbors and coworkers just how dangerous it is to drive any vehicle after drinking any amount of alcohol.

For more information, visit www.StopImpairedDriving.org.