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Alaska Editorial: Plan on it: Think ahead to avoid a DUI

Posted: December 30, 2011 - 12:06am

This editorial first appeared in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:

This week often is a busy one for people — not so much in terms of work as in terms of social engagements. That being the case, it’s worth noting some advice the Alaska Department of Public Safety issued last week.

Alaska State Troopers recommended drivers “always have a plan to celebrate safely and responsibly.” If a holiday celebration is likely to involve alcohol or drugs, it’s simply wiser that a person plan in advance to stay overnight at the celebration location or arrange for a sober person to drive.

Based on what we all can read in reports from law enforcement officers, too many of us are unaware of our impairment levels when drinking. Some people, when asked by officers to gauge how inebriated they are, obviously are attempting to bluff to avoid further investigation and charges. Others, though, honestly are unaware of how much alcohol is in their bloodstreams and how badly it affects their judgments.

Better not take chances. If you know you’ll be having a few drinks or more, make a plan to stay the night or find someone else to drive. Someone always is available — driving a cab if nowhere else.

On Dec. 16, troopers began extra efforts to stop drivers under the influence. The patrols will continue through Jan. 2.

As of Dec. 22, troopers statewide already had made 30 DUI arrests, including five at the felony level.

Alaskans are helping by calling 911 when they see someone they believe is a drunken driver. Troopers call this being REDDI — reporting every dangerous driver immediately. Among such reports between Dec. 16 and 22, troopers said, only five identified people who were “ultimately determined not to be DUI.”

Other drivers have a good sense of who is impaired and who is not. And most other drivers have a cell phone. Don’t tempt them to use it. In fact, it’s best to plan on not doing so.

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