Drinking and driving is never a good idea

  • Published
  • By Col. Greg Touhill
  • 81st Training Wing Commander
Is there anyone who hasn't already heard about the dangers of drinking and driving?
You may think you can handle it, that you haven't had that much, that it won't happen to you. Think again, and this time, think about this: when you've had one too many and reach into your pocket for your car keys, you might as well be picking up a loaded gun. A car driven by someone under the influence can be considered a several-thousand-pound projectile, a not-so-smart bomb guided by someone who isn't aware of the potential mayhem they are about to cause. 

We keep repeating this message, yet DUIs keep stacking up. Last year, we recorded 83 DUIs at Keesler. As far as I'm concerned, that's 83 too many. 

When you're drinking, it's easy to fool yourself into thinking you're under control. Even in small amounts, alcohol makes you stupid; it alters your perception noticeably. So from the very onset of drinking you become impaired, and of course, the more you drink, the worse your impairment gets, and the stupider you get. The adage "Only one drink per hour and I'm OK" is a myth. The truth of the matter is there's no way to guess how drunk you are using this method, so don't try it. 

With all the emphasis on preventing DUIs, there's really no excuse if you're caught drinking and driving. 

If you're of legal age, and are planning to drink, there's only one thing to do: Through our training in situational awareness we know that once you're aware there's a potentially dangerous situation coming up, you must plan ahead. Either plan to take a cab back home or arrange for a designated driver. Do not drink and drive! 

We're fortunate to have a very active Airmen Against Drunk Driving program. These are volunteers on call on the weekends to make sure their fellow bluesuiters make it home safely. If you need some help, please call them at 228-377-7283. 

All across the Air Force, the success of our mission hinges on having safe and healthy Airmen around to perform their jobs at peak efficiency. 

Being hospitalized, jailed or in the county morgue aren't viable alternatives. 

I encourage leaders at every level to get this message out to our Airmen. We can't afford to do without you. The Air Force is the greatest fighting force in the world because of one thing: you! 

It's really obvious, but it bears repeating. We have to do the right thing where alcohol is involved. Our core values call for it, and our safety depends on it. Take personal responsibility and know your limit. 

We also have to be good wingmen and watch out for our fellow Airmen when they consume too much alcohol. The only safe amount of alcohol to consume and drive safely is zero. 

It's easy for me to get this message out to all our people. The hard part is up to you. Be responsible. Keep yourself safe and alive. 

Don't drink and drive.