Practice safe driving on, off base

  • Published
  • By Halle Thornton
  • 50th Space Wing Public Affairs

El Paso County is leading the state in impaired driver traffic related fatalities.

In May 2018, the El Paso County Sherriff’s Office arrested 360 DUI drivers, and at the same time this year, 604 impaired drivers were arrested; an increase by more than 200 impaired driving arrests.

Leaders at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, strive to ensure Airmen are safe on and off base.

Staff Sgt. Robert Cook, 50th SW Safety Office noncommissioned officer in charge of occupational safety, said impaired driving is anything that affects your decision making abilities, whether it be drugs or alcohol.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Impaired drivers can’t accurately assess their own impairment – which is why no one should drive after using any impairing substances. If you feel different, you drive different.”

Cook said there are multiple outlets to reach out to if an Airmen finds him or herself in trouble.

“Call you first sergeant, your supervisor, a wingman, anyone who is available to you,” he said. “Call a cab, just don’t get in that car.”

Cook said before going out, have multiple plans for getting home safely.

“Always have multiple contingency plans, even have a plan for your plan,” he said.

Capt. Bradley Simon, 50th Space Wing Judge Advocate chief of adverse actions, said Airmen will likely be arrested, placed in confinement to sober up, have a court date, fined for a DUI and punished (i.e., fine, jail time, community service, etc) if caught under the influence.

 “Since Schriever is a proprietary jurisdiction base, we must offer the county, city and state the right to prosecute the Airman,” he said. “Often, one of those agencies takes the case.”

According to the Colorado Revised Statutes, 2016 CRS, Title 42, “‘Driving while ability impaired’ means driving a motor vehicle or vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs, that affects the person to the slightest degree so that the person is less able than the person ordinarily would have been, either mentally or physically, or both mentally and physically, to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle.”

Per the uniform code of military justice, “‘drunk’ and ‘impaired’ mean any intoxication which is sufficient to impair the rational and full exercise of the metal or physical faculties.

Simon said not only are Airmen putting their own lives at stake, they are risking family and friend’s lives as well.

Master Sgt. Heather Ruhlman, 50th SW JA legal office superintendent, said no situation is the same, and Airmen should always plans for different situations.  

“There are too many resources available for Airmen,” she said. “Don’t risk it.”

El Paso County reminds all drivers in the county if you drive impaired, you will get caught.

For more information about impaired driving, contact the 50th SW JA office at 567-5050.