Don’t make the mistake that could destroy lives, both yours and others
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over is a national impaired driving enforcement campaign that is currently running from August 16 – September 4, 2017. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an average of 10,000 people per year are killed in drunk driving crashes. That is approximately 1 person every 51 minutes. Although law enforcement remains vigilant every day in enforcing impaired driving, this campaign helps to draw national attention to those efforts.
Impairment begins with the first drink. Various factors such as weight, gender, and food consumption will determine what your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is and the effect on your driving ability. After only 2 drinks, you’re likely to notice changes in your ability to track moving objects, ability to perform 2 tasks at the same time, and your ability to respond to emergency driving situations.
Although PA law allows for a BAC under 0.08%, you could still be arrested for DUI if you are impaired enough to be considered an unsafe driver. Examples of that could include multiple or serious traffic violations, or being involved in a crash. A 2015 NHTSA report indicates that at a BAC of 0.03%, your risk of being involved in a crash increases by 20%. At a BAC of 0.05%, your risk increases to twice that of a non-drinking driver.
Also remember that DUI and impaired driving includes drugged driving, which is driving while being impaired by a controlled substance.
Often there are questions concerning Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) and how law enforcement determines if a person is impaired. Typically, DUI drivers are first brought to an officer’s attention based on being involved in a crash or having committed some type of traffic violation such as speeding, weaving on the roadway, or failure to stop at a stop sign. During the traffic stop or crash investigation an officer may detect an odor of alcohol or observe blood-shot eyes, slurred speech or confusion, among other indicators.
A driver may be asked to perform several SFST’s to give the officer better insight into the level of impairment. Some of the SFST include the Walk and Turn, One Legged Stand, and Horizontal-Gaze Nystagmus. A Drug Recognition Expert may be requested to perform additional tests if there is noticeable impairment, but no indication of alcohol use.
None of these tests or indicators alone mean that a driver is impaired. All of the information that is available is taken into consideration before a driver is taken into custody for DUI.
Remember to always drive safe. Even if you are not an impaired driver, be aware of other drivers who just might be.
Idea/Concept: Trooper Bieber
Videography: Andrew Moore
Video Editing: Andrew Moore
Writing: Trooper Angela Bieber
Additional Home Page Staff: Rhonda Pearson
Produced by Vogt Media
Supported by Bethany’s Jewelry and Design, Mansfield University