Drunk Driving: Destroys families, readiness

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Drunk driving is a serious and completely preventable offense.

Nearly 12,000 people die in driving under the influence-related accidents in America each year. There are also 900,000 people arrested each year for DUI and driving while intoxicated incidents, one third of whom are repeat offenders. Additionally, 90 percent of drunk driving happens after drinking with family, friends, and coworkers, according to http://www.drinkinganddriving.org.

When it comes to drinking and driving, everyone has a choice and is responsible for looking out for one another.

The 52nd Fighter Wing has several safe choices for Airmen to avoid putting themselves and others in danger by driving drunk.
· Think wingman concept: call a friend, family member or coworker including supervisors.
· Take a train or bus; however, service hours and locations are limited.
· Airmen Against Drunk Driving: AADD is free and confidential. Their telephone numbers are 06565-61-2233 (AADD) and 06565-61-4357 (HELP).
· Ride for life program: People can get ride for life cards from their first sergeant. These cards list taxi phone numbers, fare schedules, and taxi fare estimates. Some taxi companies like Faber, 06565-95-1010, will even take payments at a later date if the individual does not have money.

All Sabers have the option to have a plan and make smart decisions. Fees and fines are the least of offender's problems as injury or killing someone is something that can't be paid off.

In 2012, 35 Airmen here were caught making the wrong decision to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.

"Don't think you are immune from the worst of consequences," said Tech. Sergeant Robert Bishop, 52nd Fighter Wing Security Forces Plans and Programs."These Airmen belonged to differing units, were of various ranks, both genders and ages ranged from 21 years old to 44 years old."

Among the courts martial and Article 15s that closed in 2012, the imposed punishment included reduction in rank, reprimand, forfeiture of pay, up to 45 days of extra duty and restriction to base. Other potential consequences include loss of license and increased car insurance rates for 5-7 years. The subsequent actions and sentences resulted in reduction in rank, forfeiture of pay up to $1000.00 for six months, restriction to base for 60 days, and 30 days of confinement.

"Bottom line, you put your career at risk and cost yourself thousands of dollars that can be used to reach more positive personal goals," said Capt. Dimple Nolly, 52nd FW Judge Advocate office.