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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Focus on Safety – Never drive under the influence


Every day, 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. That is one death every 50 minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Naperville Police Department wants to make our community ‘A Safer Naper’ by reminding residents of the dangers of drinking and driving, and sharing effective measures that can help prevent injuries and deaths from alcohol-impaired driving.

Getting behind the wheel of any motorized vehicle after consuming alcohol is a serious crime. In 2018, Naperville Police made 261 arrests for driving under the influence (DUI), which involves operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of at least 0.08 percent. For individuals under 21 years of age, there is a zero-tolerance law that makes driving with any amount of alcohol in their system illegal.

Even a small amount of alcohol can lead to harmful and potentially-deadly situations. Here are some of the impacts consuming alcohol has on your body.

When alcohol is present in your system, it affects how quickly you are able to respond to different situations. It slows your response time and takes longer for your brain to process that, for example, the car in front of you braked suddenly or a pedestrian is crossing the street. This slower reaction time makes it difficult to avoid an accident.

Heavy drinking also affects your motor skills and coordination. Without crucial coordination skills, you may be unable to avoid an impending harmful situation. Some telltale signs of reduced coordination include trouble walking, swaying and inability to stand straight.

Alcohol, no matter how much or how little, can influence your concentration. With driving, there are many things that require your undivided concentration, such as staying in your lane, your speed, other cars on the road and traffic signals. Your attention span is dramatically reduced with drinking, which significantly increases the likelihood of an accident.

Excessive alcohol consumption can also negatively impact your vision. After drinking, you may notice that your vision is blurred or that you’re unable to control your eye movement. Impaired vision can affect how you judge the distance between your car and other vehicles on the road as well as negatively impact your peripheral vision.

Remember, even buzzed driving is intoxicated driving. Don’t risk injury or death from driving under the influence of alcohol. Designate a sober driver before you start consuming alcohol. If you become intoxicated, do not drive for ANY reason. Call a taxi or ride sharing service, phone a sober friend or family member or use public transportation. If someone you know has been drinking, stop him or her from driving. Take their keys, take them home or help them arrange a sober ride. Finally, if you see an impaired driver on the road, call 9-1-1. Your actions could help save a life.

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Julie Smith
Julie Smith
Julie Smith is Crime Prevention Specialist at the Naperville Police Department. Contact her at SmithJu@naperville.il.us or (630) 305-5450.