Every year people die because of others who drive under the influence of alcohol, but the most tragic fact is that they all could have been prevented.
However, despite a clear zero-tolerance drinking and driving policy, there are still Airmen who make poor choices, said Senior Airman Christopher Vonhatten, 56th Security Forces Squadron police services.
“In 2011, there were four on-base cases of driving while under the influence and 17 off-base incidents,” he said.
Driving while drunk can be a career-ender or can affect one’s future endeavors.
“If a member gets a DUI, jail time, reduction in rank, fines and discharge from the military are all possible outcomes,” said Capt. Julie Beyer, 56th Fighter Wing Legal military justice chief. “Every case is looked at based on its facts, but those are all risks a member takes by driving while intoxicated.”
Because of this, there is a driving service available at Luke Air Force Base to help deter Airmen from drinking and driving.
The program is called Airmen Against Drunk Driving, and Master Sgt. Eric Dorfner, 310th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons section NCO-in-charge, is the AADD lead.
“AADD provides a safe, anonymous ride home to Airmen who may not have had the best plan to get home.”
Additionally, it is an all-volunteer program.
“Airmen volunteer to be designated drivers and use their own vehicles to provide rides,” Dorfner said. “They are briefed on the responsibilities and what to do when making a pickup. It provides a great chance for the volunteers and unit managers to do their part in taking care of fellow Airmen.”
Though the service is free and highly encouraged for all Luke Airmen to use, Dorfner recommends making a plan prior to going out.
“Everyone should have a plan,” he said. “It could be as simple as trading weekends as a driver with a friend or a spouse, or sharing cab fare with a group of friends. Airmen should also keep a list of emergency contacts and phone numbers with them, just in case they lose their phone.”
But when all plans fail, AADD is here to help.
“The AADD program should be called when other plans fall through,” Dorfner said. “It’s there to use, but being responsible with one’s prior plans should keep it from becoming a habit.”
AADD can be reached by dialing (623) 856-2233 and is available 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
For those who’d like to use off-base services around the local area, the following are available:
BeMyDD is a service that actually drives the individual’s car home for them. Reservations can be made at (877) 823-6933.
Discount Cab has a free ride back program. According to the website discountcab.com, to use this feature one must ask for the service when calling to order the taxi. A driver from Discount Cab will deliver the individual’s car home or provide a ride back to the vehicle the next day free of charge. Discount Cab can be reached at (602) 200-2000.