Lafayette Police OWI Campaign Highlights Dangers of Driving
It was just a few drinks. Double rum and pineapple juice. Five of them.
I could feel the start of a buzz. My cheeks were hot, my eyes were heavy, and I started to laugh at everything.
A machine that measures the blood alcohol level indicated that I was at 0.067%, technically under the legal limit to drive.
But I failed a field field sobriety test – a combination of balance and eye movement tests – and an officer said if she stopped me on the road, she would stop me.
Fortunately, the testing was carried out in a controlled environment as part of a campaign by the Lafayette Police Department to show people the dangers of drunk driving.
Sr. Cpl. Tommy Aphaiyarath and Officer Jarrell Moss, who led the class, asked me if after having had my five drinks I could drive.
I will not have.
But a lot of people do. In 2019, one person in the United States was killed in a drinking and driving accident every 52 minutes, according to data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
As part of the awareness campaign, initial tests were performed as a baseline and officers measured how much and what the 10 participants were drinking.
We went to the parking lot to test a pedal car (think of a go-kart powered by bicycle pedals). Drivers had to pedal the car through traffic cones, which I hit while trying to navigate the car before I even started drinking.
After drinking four drinks, it was harder to make turns and I drove the car slower, using my whole body to make turns.
Aphaiyarath and Moss answered questions about alcohol and the law during the course.
No, eating or taking a cold shower does not lower your blood alcohol level, only time does.
If you go to bed on a Saturday night with a high blood alcohol level and don’t wait long enough, you can still get pulled over when you get into your car on Sunday morning to drive if you are still intoxicated. .
Open container laws apply if passengers drink, even if the driver does not.
The night was a reminder of the importance of having a designated driver. If you don’t have a designated driver, plan to use an Uber or crash onto a friend’s couch, despite your drinking.