(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one in a series of articles about driving under the influence of alcohol.)
Federal and state officials have advice for those who plan to include alcohol in New Year’s partying and then will drive home — don’t.
It’s just as simple as that, the officials urge. Whether it’s during a holiday or the rest of the year. Driving under the influence is a problems around the nation, and in Kansas, according to information from U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
“Drunk driving remains a leading cause of death and injury on our roadways. I applaud the efforts of the law enforcement officials who have pioneered the ‘No Refusal’ approach to get drunk drivers off our roads. And I urge other states to adopt this approach to make sure that drunk drivers can’t skirt the law and are held accountable.”
Kansas showed a 27-percent-rate of refusal of breath tests in 2005. That and similar percentages from other states have led to the no refusal steps.
According to information from the Kansas Department of Transportation, “through the ‘No Refusal’ strategy, law enforcement officers are able to quickly obtain warrants from ‘on call’ judges in order to take blood samples from suspected drunk drivers who refuse a breathalyzer test.”
Drunk driving continues to be a major issue in Kansas, according to the information from KDOT.
While Kansas law makes it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, “154 of the 386 traffic fatalities in 2009 were due to alcohol-impaired driving.”
And the law is even more strict for those who cannot legally drink. In Kansas, a blood alcohol concentration of .02 percent is enough to be DUI for drivers under 21.
The best advice, according to state safety experts, is to make sure someone drives who has not been drinking.
“The effects of alcoholic drinks vary greatly because the rate that alcohol is absorbed into the blood differs from person to person.
“Other factors, such as the amount of food in the stomach, also affect alcohol absorption.”
Whether the result is causing a wreck or getting arrested for DUI, it’s just not worth the risk.