2016-12-21 / Front Page

Biddeford Police caution against drunk driving

Staff Writer

BIDDEFORD — The Biddeford Police Department is encouraging healthy behaviors this Christmas weekend and throughout the remainder of the holiday season. 

In his biweekly newsletter on Monday, Chief Roger Beaupre cautioned residents about alcohol consumption during the holidays. Beaupre said the holiday spirit may lead to overconsumption of spirits for some, which may lead to an increase in both assaults and drunk driving incidents. 

“As you attend parties and holiday celebrations, please take sensible precautions and make wise choices,” Beaupre wrote. “Keep your family, friends, and yourselves safe by staying aware of how much you might be drinking and please use a designated sober driver.” 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers resulted in 10,265 deaths nationally in 2015. Of those, nearly 20 percent occurred in cases where the person’s blood alcohol content was below the legal threshold of .08 percent.

“Please remember, impairment truly begins with the first drink,” Beaupre said. 

The NHTSA at a BAC of just .02 percent, people can begin to experience loss of judgment, body warmth and altered mood. Effects on driving can include decline in both visual functioning and ability to perform two tasks at the same time. At a BAC of even .05 percent, people begin to experience reduced coordination and the ability to track moving objects — which could be problematic during emergency driving situations.  

At BAC 0.08 percent, the legal limit, judgment and self-control are impaired, as is muscle coordination, making speed control difficult as perception also becomes afflicted. 

It is estimated that 28 people die in an alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes each day, one every 53 minutes. That rate almost doubles between Christmas and New Year’s Day. 

The BPD has several tips for responsible behavior during the holidays: 

  1. Before drinking, choose a non-drinking friend as a sober designated driver. 
  2. Don’t let friends drive impaired. 
  3. If you have been drinking, call or taxi or other ride service. 
  4. If you host a party where alcohol will be served, ensure your guests leave with sober drivers. 
  5. Always wear seat belts as they are the best defense against other drivers who may be impaired. 

— Staff Writer Alan Bennett can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 329 or abennett@journaltribune.com. 

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