| Sheriff Jay Koon |

The summer brings fun backyard dinners, long days on the lake, (physically-distanced) get-togethers, and more opportunities to throw back a cold beverage. With those situations comes the increasing need to remind folks to not get behind the wheel under the influence.

Did you know impaired driving claims the lives of nearly 30 people in the US a day? That’s one person every 50 minutes (NHTSA).

Alcohol can be enjoyed safely and in moderation. But, you need to know how it impacts your body and why it’s important not to drive after consuming a beer or two. Of course, everyone knows the law regarding the illegality of operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. However, “in 2018, there were 1,878 people killed in alcohol-related crashes where drivers had lower alcohol levels (BACs of .01 to .07 g/dL),” says NHTSA.

Research shows that at .02 BAC, you’re affected by some loss of judgement, and you’re driving could be impacted because there is a “decline in visual functions (rapid tracking of a moving target) and a decline in ability to perform two tasks at the same time (divided attention)” (NHTSA). How many beverages does it take to get a .02 BAC? It’s different for every person. Your best bet is to not even take the chance.

Stats show men are more likely than women to be driving drunk in fatal crashes. In 2018, 21% of men were drunk in these crashes, compared to 14% for women.

Before you reach for that drink, please hand your keys over to a sober driver. If you witness an impaired driver on the road, please contact your local law enforcement agency. You could save a life.