Thanksgiving Thoughts on Drinking & Driving (and the Arizona DUI Task Force)
Thanksgiving and all of its excesses are finally here. We remember all of the things that have happened over the past year and are thankful for both the good and the bad–with happy memories from good times and sighs of relief that challenges have finally passed. So as we sit down to roasted turkeys, root vegetable gratin, gingered winter squash, and bottles of gruner veltliner (thanks for the unachievable culinary aspirations, Williams-Sonoma catalogue), we will stuff ourselves until we’re comatose on the couch in front of whichever football game will bring out the friendly and not-so-friendly rivalries. And yes, the Arizona-Arizona State game isn’t until Saturday, but you can be sure that there will be much debating about who will win and whose victory last week was more impressive: U of A’s crushing Oregon or ASU’s victory over UCLA. (For the record, it was U of A!)
But as we put those last-minute touches on our celebrations and gather together, take a moment and consider some serious numbers published by the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety from last year’s DUI task forces in Arizona between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. More than 13,000 law enforcement officials participated in the holiday DUI task force last year. 100,099 drivers were contacted by law enforcement, either by an officer or at a DUI checkpoint, and of those, 5,066 were arrested for DUI. The average blood alcohol concentration from those arrests was 0.15–almost twice our state’s legal limit of 0.08. So what does this all mean? Of the 4.8 million people in Arizona over the age of 18, one out of every 48 was stopped at some point during the holidays last year. It’s also important to note that Arizona law enforcement presence on the roads during the holiday season has steadily increased every year.
So as you pour another glass of that gruner veltliner or your favorite beer to wash down another plate of turkey, please be cognizant of how much you’ve had to drink and how much other drivers have had. Don’t take chances now that you have seen the odds. Call a cab for yourself or another who needs it, or if you’re the sober driver, go a few miles out of your way to give someone else a safe ride home and continue the football rivalries