Stone Cold Sober: Don’t Become a Statistic

Madison, Wis. -- The Critical Days of Summer campaign is in its second week, and while for most people this won't mean much, the theme of this week is something that everyone should pay close attention too: Stone Cold Sober.

Wisconsin is a drinking state; this is a fact.

According to a study published on the Wisconsin Department of Transportation website, "Wisconsin has consistently high rates of adult alcohol consumption and binge drinking compared to other states and the U.S. as a whole. Binge drinking is particularly entrenched in Wisconsin and has been the highest in the nation among adults, regardless of age or sex, for many years."

So what does this mean for you? Well, for one, it means you live in a state with a culture of alcohol use--a state where getting behind the wheel after a few drinks is more than acceptable.

According to a nationwide study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released in April 2009, More than 26 percent of Wisconsin adults who were surveyed admitted that they had driven under the influence of alcohol in the previous year. That is one in four adults in Wisconsin admitting to driving impaired.

With the 4th of July Weekend right around the corner, it is imperative that each and every one of us ensure that we too, do not become a statistic; something that is all too easy.
Imagine this: it is a typical Friday night. You decide to stop by a local sports pub after work to enjoy some dinner and drinks with friends. While you are waiting for your food, you decide to have a beer. It takes your about 15 minutes to finish. Your BAC is now about .02.

Your meal comes and as you eat you enjoy a second drink. Your BAC is now approximately .04. You feel a little warm and relaxed. You're experiencing slight euphoria and loss of shyness, but no loss of coordination.

You are having a great time, enjoying a great night of good food and conversation with your friends. Your meal is over but you all are not ready to go home yet, so you have another drink. This time you are going to change it up and have a mixed drink. Your BAC is now .06. You are feeling relaxed, talkative, and mildly euphoric. Your inhibitions are lowered and your reasoning and memory are impaired slightly. Your coordination may be mildly impaired.

Being a mixed drink, it goes down a little quicker than the previous beers you were having, so when the server stops by and asks how you are doing, you instinctively order another drink. After finishing round four over the course of your dinner, your BAC is now .08. It has been a little over an hour since your first drink and you are feeling relaxed, talkative, and mildly euphoric. Your inhibitions are lowered and your reasoning and memory are impaired slightly. Your coordination may be mildly impaired. This is now the legal limit, yet you are probably feeling "buzzed" and in your euphoric state, think you are still fine to drive; after all, you don't live that far from here.

No one is ready to go home yet, so you all will just have "one more" before calling it a night. This time you decide to take it easy and have a light beer. Your BAC is now .1.
Over the course of a dinner with friends, you have now made yourself legally impaired to drive in all 50 states. (These calculations were made for an average male, weighing 185lb. If you are a 130lb women, your BAC would be .16).

While this may not be you or a situation you face, and while most likely this scenario would end with you making it home safely, imagine for a second that it doesn't. You are stopped for whatever reason by law enforcement; your casual dinner with friends will now probably end with you going to jail.

Here are some tips to help prevent this from happening:
·Choose a sober designated driver before you start drinking.
·If you're feeling buzzed, you are most likely are over the legal limit.
·Take a taxi; while it may seem expensive at the time, it is cheaper than an OWI.
·Some taverns and restaurants have programs to provide patrons with a safe ride home. Visit www.tlw.org.
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