Module 6: Alcohol and Other Drugs 06 (Reduce Risks)

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The Texas ZERO TOLERANCE law makes it illegal for any minor to operate a motor vehicle, including a watercraft, in a public place while having ANY detectable amount of alcohol in their system. It is a criminal offense of Driving under the Influence of Alcohol by a Minor (DUIA by a Minor).

Zero-tolerance laws make it a criminal DUI offense for drivers under the age of 21 to drive with even a small amount of alcohol in their system

Reduce risks

Have a Plan –Simply put, the best way to reduce the risk of intoxication-related collisions is to never combine drinking or drugs with the act of driving. The challenge to this simple principle is that good judgment is the first thing that is affected by alcohol and drug use; therefore, a responsible driver must have a transportation plan in place before consuming alcohol. Such a plan may include having a designated driver to get home or planning to use a taxi in advance. Use the following refusal skills to motivate yourself to stick with your transportation plan:

Take responsibility to say “No” – Whatever the reason for drinking, a driver should keep in mind that he or she is still responsible for his or her actions. It is reasonable that you do not cloud your senses before making life and death decisions. The act of driving is always a life or death experience and alcohol clouds your senses; therefore, take responsibility for your life and the lives of those who share the road with you and refuse to drive after drinking.

Law Enforcement Risks – Drinking and driving laws are strictly enforced and get a lot of attention from local authorities, the media, and many private organizations. These laws typically use the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) threshold to identify when a person has consumed too much alcohol to drive safely. Blood alcohol concentration tests measure the weight of alcohol for a specific volume of blood. If you are suspected of drinking and driving, you may be subject to a field sobriety test, blood or breath tests, arrest, fines, license suspension, and even jail time. Choosing to drink and drive, or even just drink, can likely lead to these law enforcement consequences.

Consequences of using alcohol and other drugs and driving – Drinking and driving is the leading cause of death among young adults. Because people don’t always frame their decisions as life and death decisions, the law has set serious consequences for people who drink and drive. Think about the laws we have discussed before and the consequences of breaking those laws.

Consideration of others – Regardless of the physical and legal consequences, the emotional scars of losing a close friend or the life of a young child are wounds that time does not heal. Remember: when you are behind the wheel of a car, small mistakes have serious consequences. The fact is, the choice to drink and drive can result in the death of an innocent friend, relative, young child, or stranger.

Don’t ride with an intoxicated driver – When you have the option of riding in a car that has been or plans to drink, the responsible decision is to insist that the driver be sober. Although the short-term consequences may seem negative, some friends or acquaintances will hate you the next morning when they are still alive and not in jail.

Protect your friends – Intoxicated drivers are dangerous to everyone on the road. You may find yourself in a position where you want to prevent a friend from driving while intoxicated. Direct intervention can be as simple as talking to the individual to convince him to do the right thing. It can also be more complicated and even involve actions such as removing a friend’s car keys. Direct intervention should not include a fight or physical confrontation.

Stepping in to stop a friend from driving while intoxicated can take enormous courage. If you intervene, you may be ostracized by your friend. But the payoff is well worth the price, and an annoying ex-friend is better than an injured or dead friend.