Celebrating the New Year is a fun event to anticipate. There are friends, family, good food, and drinks. But, with drinking, comes the responsibility of taking precautions for safe transportation, and also having a backup plan if those ideas fall short.
According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, “If you are 21-years-old or older, you will receive a DUI if your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is above .08% (commercial vehicle driver – .04%, under 21 – 0.00%). Once you are pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence, a field test will be administered. Refusal to take the test will result in an automatic one year suspension of your license if it is your first offense. If it is your second or third offense, your license will be suspended for two years.”
If an underage driver is caught with any alcohol in their system, the repercussions are serious as well. Underage drivers convicted of having alcohol in their system face a mandatory two-year license suspension in addition to fines and up to 6 months in jail. For many drivers, two years without a license is worse than the mandatory jail and fines that come along with a standard DUI.
Additionally, an underage driver can still be convicted of a standard DUI if there’s evidence that the driver had a BAC of at least .08% or more or was impaired by drugs. The driver will also be subject to all the other penalties of a standard DUI.
A DWU (driving while intoxicated) offense is serious business that can lead to loss of employment, prevention of employment in certain jobs, higher insurance rates, serious financial setbacks, personal and family embarrassment, and having that conviction on your driving records for years―if not forever. Avoid having this setback and just plan ahead.
Most people know that drinking under the influence isn’t wise. But, many people underestimate how much alcohol can really send you over the legal limit. Here is a guide that shows approximately how much alcohol it takes (depending on your weight) to throw you into the range of intoxication. Please keep in mind, this is only a source to help bring awareness to how seemingly little alcohol can really take a toll.
Levels of Intoxication One Drink Equals
BAC less than 0.05% – Use Caution 1oz. 86 proof liquor, or
BAC .05-.079% – May be impaired 3oz. wine, or
BAC .08%+ – Presumed under the influence 12oz. beer
|Body Weight||Number of Drinks|
|This table shows the effects of alcohol within one hour on an average of a given body weight. Please do not take this information as a license to drink irresponsibility. Everyone is different and alcohol effects each person differently. Only you know your limits. Please drink responsibly. Source: dui.drivinglaws.org/drink-table.php|
Having a backup plan is best. Here are several helpful services in Tucson, should you find yourself in a situation where you’re not sober to drive (if you even have to question, it’s better to find a safe ride).
- Tipsy Tow courtesy of AAA: Tipsy Tow provides a free ride home and vehicle tow of up to 10 miles for any driver, not just AAA Members. For mileage beyond this, motorists are charged a standard towing rate. Drivers, potential passengers, party hosts, bartenders, restaurant managers or anyone who wants to ensure a safe ride home for an intoxicated motorist may contact AAA for this service (1-800-AAA-HELP and ask for Tipsy Tow).
- Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app: The NHTSA’s SaferRide app (available on Google Play or the iTunes store) allows users to call a taxi or a predetermined friend, and identifies the user’s location so he or she can be picked up.
- Use a ride service like Lyft, Uber or a taxi: Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve to figure out how you might get home. Download the apps and get familiar with how to utilize the service. Often, there are coupon codes you can use for discounted or even free rides- scour for them before the evening. Don’t just get into any vehicle just because it looks like your ride- wait until they ask for your name, make sure somebody else knows you’ve opted for a ride service, and check in once you’ve made it home.
- Use public transportation: Tucson’s transportation system is one great way to ensure you arrive safely to your destination. Use the Tucson SunLink Street Car that will run until 2 a.m. on New Year’s Eve to get around if you’re in the downtown/ campus area.
- Plan it out with family and friends: If you’d rather not have a third party drive you, decide amongst your group who will be the designated driver for the evening. It’d be a nice gesture to even cover the designated driver’s dinner and non-alcoholic drinks for the night. Despite all good intentions, sometimes people get caught up in the moment, and before you know it, your supposedly sober ride has a drink in hand. If this becomes a reality, opt for another source for your ride.
From all of us at Courtney Medical Group- have a safe and wonderful New Year!