Volunteers Drink Over Limit to Help Train Officers

By: Vicky Nguyen
By: Vicky Nguyen

This week President Bush declared December "National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month," encouraging police to crack down on DUI.

Area deputies staged a drill to train cadets and show people what being legally drunk looks like.

We watched as volunteers drank beyond the legal limit. In many cases, their behavior and motor skills changed dramatically, illustrating why DUI can be so deadly.

Josh Hicks sober has no problem passing a basic sobriety test.

He is one of several state employees who volunteered to get drunk for a peace officer training session.

The training gives cadets firsthand experience on how to conduct a field test on an intoxicated subject. It's something they'll be doing a lot as Nevada cracks down on DUI under it's new .08 percent limit.

Gary Turner, Bureau Chief, said, “11 drinks and two hours later, we see Josh Hicks drunk, well over the legal limit at .18.”

This time he fails the eye test and also stumbles on the one-foot stand.

Said Hicks, "I wouldn't drive - it shows how easy it is to get drunk."

Organizers say part of the reason they invited the media to this training is that they wanted drivers at home to see why DUI is so dangerous..

National statistics show that 1,0001 people were killed last year in alcohol-related crashes and another 250,000 were injured.

Officers say the best way to avoid being a victim is to plan ahead and designate a driver.

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Drunk Driving Statistics

  • Traffic fatalities in alcohol-related crashes rose by four percent from 1999 to
    2000.

  • The 16,653 alcohol-related fatalities in 2000 (40 percent of total traffic fatalities for the year) represent a 25 percent reduction from the 22,084 alcohol-related fatalities reported in 1990 (50 percent of the total).

  • NHTSA estimates that alcohol was involved in 40 percent of fatal crashes and in eight percent of all crashes in 2000.

  • The 16,653 fatalities in alcohol-related crashes during 2000 represent an average of one alcohol-related fatality every 32 minutes.

  • An estimated 310,000 persons were injured in crashes where police reported that alcohol was present — an average of one person injured approximately every two minutes.

  • Approximately 1.5 million drivers were arrested in 1999 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.

  • This is an arrest rate of 1 for every 121 licensed drivers in the United States.

  • About 3 in every 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives.

  • In 2000, 31 percent of all traffic fatalities occurred in crashes in which at least one driver or nonoccupant had a BAC of 0.10 g/dl or greater. Sixty-nine percent of the 12,892 people killed in such crashes were themselves intoxicated. The remaining 31 percent were passengers, nonintoxicated drivers, or nonintoxicated nonoccupants.

  • In the state of Kentucky, there were 820 total fatalities in 2000. Of those, 203 had a BAC greater than or equal to 0.10, which accounted for 25 percent of the total fatalities.

Source: www.nhtsa.dot.gov (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Web site) contributed to this report.


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