The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not represent our advertisers

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Wicomico, MD— This time of year, with all the holiday parties and festive occasions, many party-goers will be drinking. If you’re celebrating with alcohol this holiday season, the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office has a message for you: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. Due to the increase in drunk-driving-related fatalities around the holidays each year, law enforcement agencies across America will be out in force December 12-January 1, 2015—actively searching for drunk drivers. The facts are grim: in December 2012 there were 830 people killed in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher; 26 of those deaths occurred on Christmas Day. On average, a third (31%) of all crash fatalities in America involves drunk driving. But on Christmas day 2012, the percentage jumps to 36 percent.

“It’s time for all drivers to get the message,” said Sheriff Michael A. Lewis “that drunk driving isn’t a victimless crime. You could kill yourself or someone else, or get a DUI and go to jail.” It’s illegal in every state to drive over the limit of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL). And it might not take as much alcohol as you think to get there. So the safest approach is to only drive sober. If you plan on drinking at a holiday party, bar, or restaurant, let someone else do the driving – a sober friend, a taxi or public transportation.

Every year, more than 10,322 people are killed by drunk drivers in America. It’s one of the primary missions of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to drastically reduce this toll on our Nation. So as part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign period, police will be increasing their number of patrols, setting up roadblocks, and using local media to reach all drivers. If you’re drinking and driving, Wicomico County Sheriff’s deputies will find and arrest you. No warnings, no excuses. You’ll face jail time, fines, loss of your driver’s license, towing fees, and other DUI expenses, totaling $10,000 on average. Not to mention the humiliation among your family, friends, and workplace.

Some people think that if they get pulled over for driving drunk, they can just refuse a breath test to avoid the DUI charge. “Not true,” says Sheriff Lewis “In most jurisdictions, refusing a breath test means an automatic arrest, and loss of your driver’s license on the spot.” The only way to truly avoid a DUI is to drive sober. There are many ways to get home safely after drinking, and driving isn’t one of them. Designate a sober driver ahead of time, or call a friend or family member. You could also use public transportation or call a taxi. The cost of cab fare is nothing compared to a $10,000 DUI or the cost of someone’s life, and the ‘inconvenience’ of not driving your own car home is nothing compared to the inconvenience of spending the holidays behind bars.

In addition to reminding all drivers to drive sober, Sheriff Lewis is calling on everyone to be alert. If you see a drunk driver on the road, call the police right away—you could save a life. If someone you know is about to drive after drinking, take their keys and help them get home safely. “We’ve got to work together to make our roads safer this December and year-round,” he said.

Some startling data from NHTSA shows that during the holiday season in 2012, 40 percent of the drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes had at least one prior DUI on their record. And many offenders are young drivers: during that same holiday period 37 percent of the 21- to 24-year old drivers in fatal crashes were drunk. Surprisingly, almost 1 out of 6 drivers under the age of 21 in those fatal crashes were also drunk, even though they’re too young to legally buy or consume alcohol.

“We can’t stand to see this tragic loss of life again and again,” added Sheriff Mike Lewis. “It’s heartbreaking to drive up to a house all decorated for the holidays, and knock on the door to deliver such terrible news. So leading up to the holidays, we are really cracking down, and we will show zero tolerance for drunk drivers on the road.”

Wicomico drivers, please follow these tips to keep the holidays safe and happy:

• Even one drink can impair your judgment and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk—or worse, the risk of having a crash.
• If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving. Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party begins.
• If you have been drinking, do not drive. Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, use public transportation.

Remember, it is never safe to drink and drive: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

Releasing Authority: Captain Babe Wilson
Date: December 9, 2014


Anonymous said...

Unless your a cop then refusing tests will get you off!

Anonymous said...

1:02 - why was that necessary? This was a very direct charge and plea to keep people safe and a reminder that if they choose not to do so there will be consequences. I am sorry you feel that police are above the law and question why you feel that way, but the sworn officers I know don't feel that way - grow up!

Anonymous said...

i am very athletic and i failed the sobriety field test while sober!!!

Rebel Without a Clue said...

Ain't that the truth!

Anonymous said...

Nope sure wont! Citizens can refuse as well.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if i volunteer for some police activities I might be able to drive drunk like some our brave and proud cops do

Anonymous said...

2:14 - can you back you statement up with FACTS? If not, shut up and leave.

Anonymous said...

Got a couple cop friends. Whenever we've been drinking they always drive. Who's gonna mess with them. It's always a big joke.

Anonymous said...

A judge just got off. They even had video. She was smashed. It was on fox a couple of nights ago.

Stu Stinchfield said...

2:30 2:14 is correct I have personally seen it Ican't name names and wouldn't even if I could. Personally I don't care because I think the law is way too strict anyway.People need to get real and realize that most people who drink and drive are nowhere near intoxicated they have a few drinks and go home and don't hurt anyone,and yes I had an alchol charge after one and one half beers because I was afraid to take the breath test and I lost my license for 6 mo. Most people can handle their alchol just fine but because of a few total A-holes everyone is scared to death to even go out and enjoy themselves.

Anonymous said...

3:45 Hope you hit a bridge embankment, and not another motorist you POS.

Anonymous said...

If you can't drink and drive or talk on your phone then don't, but some of us have a lot of experience.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Unless your a cop then refusing tests will get you off!

December 9, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Not if they have a 'freedom trailer' near by. They will strap you down and take your blood against your will nowadays.

And a lot of people are fine with that.

can you back you statement up with FACTS? If not, shut up and leave.

December 9, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Are you really that naive? It's not hard to find cases of cops letting cops off the hook and even judges. Why don't you shut up, leave and go find them?

Hope you hit a bridge embankment, and not another motorist you POS.

December 9, 2014 at 4:35 PM

And Merry Christmas to you too.

ginn said...

There are reasons for laws against drinking and driving we all can understand that. But, just like every other law that LE admins, they'll take it to the the absolute limit and then stretch it some more. And, I'll give just one out of a billion examples., physically removing a driver and holding or tying them down to draw blood for a GD BAC test at a friggin' checkpoint roadblock, for crying out loud., or is that two examples???

Anonymous said...

You don't have a right to drive, it is a privilege, there shouldn't be legal loopholes to get people out of dui charges.