Drug council issues warning to low level drinkers

| 07/12/2011

christmas-cocktail.png(CNS): Launching its ‘Silent night’ campaign for the holiday season the National Drug Council has warned people who are only drinking moderately not to drive as they will still be over the limit and their driving impaired. Describing this year’s target audience as “low level” drunk drivers, the council said it aims to educate the public on how alcohol affects driving performance before they graduate to higher, more risky levels of alcohol consumption. The NDC said that driving impaired by alcohol is not just a victimless traffic offence but much more dangerous carrying heavy consequences.

“We must all do more to influence behaviour by changing the perception that impaired driving is merely a victimless traffic offence” said Simon Miller, Prevention Officer.

As a country, we support law enforcement efforts to protect us from theft, burglary and assault but he pointed out that many otherwise law-biding citizens continue to view impaired driving as nothing more than a traffic citation. “Don’t be fooled Cayman, impaired driving is a serious crime,” he added. 

The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is .1. This means that a driver’s body must contain less than 100 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. A 150-pound male drinking for one hour on an empty stomach would likely have the following BAC levels: 2 drinks .05BAC,  4 drinks .10 BAC, 8 drinks .20 BAC, 12 drinks .30 BAC. 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, 1 ounce of 100-proof spirits each contain about the same amount of pure alcohol (half ounce).

Driving is a very complex task which requires complex decision making and total concentration. Alcohol affects a driver’s ability to be totally in control of his or her actions at 0.02 to 0.05 BAC – the ability to see or locate moving lights correctly is diminished, as is the ability to judge distances. The tendency to take risks is increased, and the ability to respond to several stimuli is decreased.

At 0.05 to 0.08 BAC  the ability to judge distances is reduced, sensitivity to red lights is impaired, reactions are slower, and concentration span is shorter and at  0.08 BAC drivers are five times more likely to have an accident than before they started drinking. At 0.08 to 0.12 BAC euphoria sets in, overestimation of one’s abilities leads to reckless driving, peripheral vision is impaired (resulting in accidents due to hitting vehicles in passing), and perception of obstacles is impaired. Drivers are up to 10 times more likely to have an accident.

Penalties for drunk-driving offences include disqualification from driving for a specified period, fines and imprisonment.

The NDC has partnered with local restaurants and bars to offer designated drivers free sodas throughout the holiday season.

“Community-based partnerships, along with highly visible criminal justice activity are the keys to winning the battle against impaired driving. Research shows that the most effective tool to eradicating drink-driving is personal responsibility,” stated Joan West-Dacres, Executive Director National Drug Council.

The NDC said it is encouraging everyone to take a stand and help to raise awareness that impaired driving is a deadly crime that has severe personal consequences. Let’s make this holiday season safe. Designate a driver and ensure that individuals get home safely this holiday season. 

For more information please call the National Drug Council at 949-9000 or visit us on the web www.ndc.ky.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Local News

About the Author ()

Comments (8)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    As a "High Level" drinker that has used alcohol consistently to form bonds with management at work and that have allowed me better perks than others and have given me unwarranted promotions and false impression that I am a calm-hard-working-people-person-networker ,  I find any "Low Level" drinker to be a huge threat.  Stop crimping my style and your overlooked hard-work will never match up with a suave company drunk. Lets hope this effort to target those who drink on a lower level will finally make them realize that High-Level drinkers are cooler, more fun, and always seem to be in positions of more power,management, and responsibility than low lever drinkers. How else can you explain a coordinated act to  target those who drink less than others?

    • Wasted away somewhere for the last 40 years... says:

      I'll drink to that.

      Your comments sound familiar, did you ever work for the Jagermeister distributors?

  2. Anonymous says:

    It seems what Simon Miller is actually saying is that the current legal blood/alcohol level for driving is too high and research shows he is right.

    In real terms the levels given above mean that an average size man (I can't think of many I drink with that weigh 150lbs) drinking three pints of beer or the best part of a bottle of wine in one hour can still legally drive home.

    In the UK, the USA and Canada the maximum permitted BAC is .08, with most of Europe going for .05 or even lower, and Cayman right now seems to tolerate the highest drink driving levels in the world.

    If I understand it right .10 BAC is the old US standard that was dumped earlier this year because research found that at that level drivers were so impaired they were up to 12 times more likely to be involved in fatal accidents than drivers who hadn't been drinking.




    • Anonymous says:

      This is true. Actually in my Canadian province of British Columbia, the legal limit for alcohol is now reduced from .08 to .05. It is illegal to serve alcohol here to someone drunk, and bars and restaurants can be held liable if the patron they served causes an accident. Even homeowners can be held liable for any accidents caused by their guests who are served enough alcohol to put them over the legal limit.

      Most people these days, make a plan ahead of time for alternate transportation if they are planning on drinking.


  3. Anonymous says:

    Penalties for drunk-driving offences include disqualification from driving for a specified period, fines and imprisonment.


    What is the period of time?

    How much is thefine?

    What is the length of imprisonment?


    What is the number to call when we know or see people on the road that are drunk?

    • Never Been Caught DUI says:

      Answers to the first three questions are –

      1. Minimum 12 months.

      2. No idea, can't find it on the internet.

      3. I found a case where the driver was sentenced to 15 months.

      The problem with 1. above is that the Cayman Islands cannot suspend a driving licence issued to a tourist living outside the islandsso I guess they compensate for that by hitting the driver with a fairly large fine. Mind you when was the last time you saw a white-plated hire car pulled over at a road block? I don't think they even breathalyse off-island hire car drivers after crashes.

      But the final one is the most interesting because calling 911 isn't going to do anything and the alternative is not much better. The official recommendation was always to call the RCIPS switchboard on 949-4222 or report them to your local police station, if you can find one open. Best of luck with that!

      In the UK the police ran a drink/drive hotline to let you report offenders to a dedicated service (a bit like CrimeStoppers) who would deal with the complaints.

      It has some results but there were two problems –

      1. It was flooded with malicious complaints from dumped girlfriends, partners or whatever out for revenge.

      2. Genuine reports (we used to live next to an alcoholic guy who regularly crawled out of his car blind drunk) got put on voicemail and it took weeks for anything to be done. Our neighbour was eventually busted one night with a BAC just under .30 (he'd killed a bottle of scotch before driving home) but it took nearly a month to stop that lunacy.

      The most effective enforcement I've ever seen in Cayman (hope you are reading this Mr Baines because it goes back to the days of your predecessor, Stuart Kernohan) was RCIPS cruisers not just patrolling the streets but pulling into bar or restaurant parking lots to check out the vehicles there and the officers maybe even getting out to take a look round. I can tell you it scared the s**t out of me even if I hadn't been drinking much and if it starts to happen again I will be going back to taking a taxi home.

  4. goodwill says:

    tell someone not to drink and drive is almost the same as telling a politian to not talk and lie..impossible

    as bad as drink driving is, it will always be a problem but there is not much you can 'say' to changethe fact

    • A Different Approach says:

      I disagree; for one, bars can stop serving people who are obviously inebriated, it may cut down on their profits but the clubber who lives will spend more money than the clubber who kills himself driving drunk!

      Clubs and bars can offer breathalizers to all patrons leaving their businesses (there are already a couple that do) and if police are on sight at closing (as they often are) they can intercept people BEFORE they even get behind the wheel. Not agressively but issue a firm warning that they will be detained if they appear intoxicated and either refuse the breathalizer or fail to select an alternate ride home.

      Security at the door can can also alert authorities to intoxicated individuals leaving behind the wheel rather than in the passenger seat.

      Friends, family and even strangers can take a more active role in our community by calling the police if they witness someone that they KNOW should not be driving, attempting to do so. I have personally done this myself and further gone to court to give evidence against a drunk driver that nearly ran me off the road and I followed for half the island until the police pulled him down. Sure I made an enemy because of it but I'd rather live with that than know that he had killed himself or someone else that night and I could have prevented it.

      This is not some obscure issue that only affects this age group or that class; drunk driving affects the entire community because you don't have to be the one doing it to be the one killed by it. Long and short, if everyone takes a larger roll and stops turning away saying "boy da nah my business still", then we CAN affect change, and for the better.