In recent years adults seem to have turned Halloween into a more alcohol fueled holiday with various costume and Halloween parties that seem to place a greater emphasis on distilled spirits rather than the spirits of ghosts and goblins. Halloween is scary enough without the added terror of drunk drivers on the road. Every year, while some people are trick-or-treating, others are drinking and driving.
This year, Halloween falls on a Friday and local law enforcement will be out on the roads looking for drunk drivers as part of an aggressive Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement.
“Consider yourself warned; if we catch you driving impaired, you will be arrested,” according to Chief William Solomon, Lycoming County DUI Task Force Coordinator. “Drunk driving is a choice,” says Solomon, “a preventable one.” “We want to remind all drivers that if you are impaired you should not be driving.”
The folks at the Community Traffic Safety Project would like to dispel some of the myths about driving under the influence and have provided to Webb Weekly the following information:
• It’s OK to drive “after a few” if you only feel buzzed.
No! Buzzed driving is drunk driving. You don’t have to trip, slip or slur your words to be drunk and unsafe to drive.
• Get caught for DUI and you can sit out hunting season.
Yes! DUI is a misdemeanor 2, which means you lose your privilege to possess a fire arm.
• The police will get you every time.
No! It can be a Game Commission wildlife conservation officer, a Fish and Boat Commission waterways conservation officer, sheriffs or DCNR Parks and Forestry rangers – all can arrest for DUI.
• You can lose your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), even if you are not driving a CDL vehicle when you are arrested for DUI.
Yes! You can actually lose your CDL status at a lower alcohol level than someone who has a regular driver’s license.
• Dodge the police and you’ll dodge a DUI.
No! Almost everyone out there has a cell phone, so many intoxicated drivers are being reported by other drivers calling 9-1-1.
One additional myth – DUI is not just Driving Under the Influence of alcohol. If you drive under the influence of prescription or over-the-counter or any drug or combination of drugs that impairs your ability to drive safely, you can be arrested for DUI.
So, if your plans for Halloween include alcohol, designate before you celebrate and make arrangements for a non-drinking driver to get you home safely at the end of the night.
If you are unable to designate a driver, then plan to take a taxi (570-322-2222), call a sober friend or family member or make arrangements to spend the night.
Walking “under the influence” is NOT an option. Whether walking or driving, alcohol and traffic don’t mix.
According to Chris Smith, Highway Safety Specialist with the Community Traffic Safety Project, “In addition to being concerned about Driving Under the Influence, it’s important that drinkers are aware of some other aspects of alcohol consumption.”
• A 12 ounce beer has the same amount of alcohol as a standard shot of 80-proof liquor or 5 ounce glass of wine. They all pack the same punch. Some mixed drinks contain two or three standard servings of alcohol.
• A person who is passed out from drinking cannot “sleep it off.” The amount of alcohol it takes to make you pass out is dangerously close to the amount it takes to kill you. This can be a medical emergency that requires immediate attention.
• Milk or greasy foods do not coat the stomach and therefore do not prevent a person getting drunk or sick. The stomach cannot be “coated” to prevent alcohol absorption. However, carbohydrate and protein-rich food before drinking help reduce the amount of alcohol absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the stomach.
It is important to heed this information. You can save yourself a lot of money, legal aggravation and most importantly you can save lives.