A Toast To Happy (And Safe) Holidays

We are in the season for holiday office parties. These parties can range from informal dinner parties with white elephant gift exchanges to more formal affairs at a local club or restaurant. By all means, enjoy the season, but be careful not to spoil it by driving under the influence. How many drinks does it take to be “under the influence?” A 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor are considered standard drink sizes. It doesn’t seem like that much, does it? “I’ve only had two or three beers” you tell yourself, but that could be all it takes. On average, a 160-pound person has a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.02 percent after just one drink. That means after four drinks you are at the legal limit of 0.08 percent. The limit is much lower for commercial vehicle operators and underage drivers –– 0.04 and 0.02.

And as we all know, with a little liquid courage it’s not uncommon to overestimate your ability to drive, or even walk, so it’s important to know what your body can handle. Prudence will save a lot of time and money.

If you or anyone from your party is too intoxicated to drive there are plenty of ways to get home. Uber will come pick you up with just the swipe of a finger on the app, or a simple Internet search on your phone can find a “taxi service near me.” The $20 fare will be nothing compared to the thousands you will spend if you are caught drinking and driving. And you are likely going to get caught.

The penalties for driving over the legal limit will vary based on a few factors such as: Is this your first offense? Did you cause anyone harm? What was your BAC? For first offenders you can expect to have your license suspended for up to a year, spend between 24 hours and 12 months in jail and pay anywhere from $300 to $1,000 in fines.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Have water or other non-alcoholic beverages in between alcoholic drinks. This will keep you hydrated and your stomach full, which may lead to fewer drinks consumed. In addition, water between drinks will reduce the hangover effects too.
  • Make sure you give yourself time to recover after drinking. Your last drink should be finished no less than 90 minutes before you plan to leave.
  • Don’t buy into the myths. Although drinking black coffee or dunking your head in ice water may help in the smallest of ways, the only real cure is time.

Spend the holiday season with friends and family, not new friends in a county jail. Know your limits and think about it before you get behind the wheel. Happy Holidays!

DUIMarijane Cauthorn