Making the choice to drink and drive can negatively affect not only possible victims but also a career, family and future endeavors. For the military member, there is another layer of woes to consider.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, someone in the U.S. dies in an alcohol-related crash every 33 minutes. In addition, Americans have on average a 30-percent chance of being killed or injured by an impaired driver during their lifetime.
Drinking and driving can be fatal, but the cost is also great if just caught.
“The consequences of driving under the influence can vary depending on the circumstances,” said Capt. Julie Beyer, 56th Fighter Wing chief of military justice. “With an off-base DUI, an Airman is likely looking at spending a night in jail, a conviction, thousands of dollars in fines and other fees, the installation of an ignition interlocking device, suspended driving privileges, and face administrative action from his commander.”
Similarly, for an on-base DUI or an off-base DUI in which the Air Force has received jurisdiction, an Airman could face a court-marital or an Article 15.
“A court marital can include six months in jail, reduction of rank to E-1, loss of 2/3 pay per month for up to six months and hard labor,” Beyer said. “An Article 15 action can include reduction in rank, loss of half a month’s pay for two months, up to 45 days extra duty and 60 days restriction to base. Commanders also have the option of having the Airman install the ignition interlocking device on their vehicle for up to six months.”
To prevent DUIs and save lives, Luke Air Force Base has a program available to get Airmen home safely.
“The program is called Airman Against Drunk Driving,” said Tech. Sgt. Keith Farmer, 56th Maintenance Group quality assurance chief inspector and 56th FW AADD program manager. “It’s 100-percent anonymous, which means no information is reported back to the individual’s squadron commander or supervisor. All we need is a name, location and number when someone calls.”
There is also an option to have an individual’s vehicle driven home.
“Ninety-five percent of the time we have two people on call for AADD, so if you ask we can also drive your vehicle home,” Farmer said.
Although the program is designed to help Airmen, Beyer encourages everyone to use it as a backup plan.
“Make a plan before going out,” Beyer said. “Have a designated driver, or call a taxi or a friend to come get you. It’s also important to know your limit and stick with it and when all other plans fall through call AADD.”
AADD can be reached at (623) 856-AADD and is available 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Additionally, AADD is always looking for volunteers.
“If you’ve used the service in the past and would like to give back or just volunteer, please call or email your squadron’s AADD representative or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org,” Farmer said.
For those who’d like to use off-base services around the local area, the following are available:
BeMyDD is a service that includes driving an individual and their car home for them. Reservations can be made at (877) 823-6933.