VIDEO: Too Drunk to Drive--After Two Beers

The state's legal definition for DUI is a blood alcohol count of .08, but a driver can be too intoxicated to take the wheel before reaching that level--as one Patch editor learned first-hand.

The , along with county and city law enforcement agencies throughout the North Bay, will be out in force on Cinco de Mayo Thursday. According to a media release from the ,

Cinco de Mayo is a special opportunity to gather with friends, celebrating California’s rich cultural diversity. It is also a night when dangerous and often deadly outcomes occur because another impaired driver hits the road drunk. The Napa County "Avoid the 9 DUI Task Force" will be deploying overtime patrols onto city streets while CHP will be saturating the freeways and unincorporated communities. They will be looking for the signs of a drunk driver to stop, test and arrest those who have had too much alcohol.

And "too much alcohol" can be less than many people think, which is why the CHP held its St. Patrick's Day "Sobriety Challenge" at Infineon Raceway March 17.

Sonoma Patch editor Alexis Fitts took part in the annual event this year, performing a series of driving tests before downing two beers and getting behind the wheel again.

Shortly after swallowing the last of her two 14-ounce Moylan's, Alexis had a blood alcohol level of .06, according to a Breathalyzer test administered by CHP Officer Lisa Paulson.

But by the time she'd finished running the second set of driving tests -- crushing several cones in the process, as you'll see in the video -- Alexis blew .074 when she was Breathalyzed again.

And, said CHP Officer Jaret Paulson, if she happened to be pulled over or -- worse -- involved in even a minor collision, she could wind up under arrest and heading for a blood test while her alcohol level continued to rise to .08 or above.

So how do we celebrate safely on holidays when imbibing is the norm? Writer , also known as the Beer Wench, wrote us a useful primer back when Napa Patch was new: You can read it .

Here's more from the city of Napa, which advises both individuals who drink alcohol and businesses that serve it to plan ahead for Cinco de Mayo festivities:

  • Arrange rides home for your friends, family, co-workers and yourself before the drinking begins
  • Identify and provide free non-alcoholic drinks or other promotional items to the Designated Driver
  • Party hosts and servers must limit drinks to your guests or patrons. Don’t serve more than one or two over several hours.
  • Cut back on the amount of drinks you plan to bring to the party – and provide plenty of food.
  • If you see dangerous driving, Report Drunk Drivers – Call 9-1-1!

“Drunk driving is simply not worth the risk. Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for impaired driving can be significant,” said Chief Rich Melton.  “Violators often face jail time, the loss of their driver’s license, higher insurance rates, attorney fees, time away from work, and dozens of other expenses. So don’t take the chance.”

Avoid the 9 DUI Task Force funding is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Source: City of Napa.


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