St. Patrick’s Day event raises awareness of alcohol, driving |

St. Patrick’s Day event raises awareness of alcohol, driving

Four volunteers from the Elks Club in Glenwood Springs had the chance to learn just how much drink is too much, all under law-enforcement supervision.”I had one drink, one Corona, and I blew a .05 after one beer,” said volunteer Beth Nicol. Justin Mitchell, a Colorado State Patrol trooper, informed her that that is impaired. Had she been behind the wheel, Nicol could have been cited for driving while ability impaired, according to Mitchell. Nicol wasn’t surprised to have shown such a high blood alcohol content, since she said she hadn’t had anything to eat since 10 a.m. Later, Nicol blew a .018. Mitchell attributed the low initial reading to her having had a drink too soon before the test. The law enforcement officers and volunteer drinkers came together for KMTS’s St. Patrick’s Day Drinking Awareness Show at the Brickyard Square in Rifle. KMTS assistant station manager Kathy Yost said the station does it every year.The show also was a chance to clear up misperceptions. After two drinks, the four volunteers’ alcohol content ranged anywhere from Ken Cox’s 0.0 to .031 in Dawn, a volunteer who preferred not to use her last name. Dawn’s blood alcohol content went up to .041 when she started a second drink, but dropped back to .031 after she ate. The amount of food a person has eaten, body weight and composition, and the amount of oxygen in the air can all affect the way alcohol affects a given person, Mitchell said. Mitchell also had some information on drunken-driving law. A blood alcohol content of .05 to .08 is high enough for a citation for driving while ability impaired. Above .08, a driver can receive a citation for driving under the influence, Mitchell said.If officers suspect a driver has been drinking, they’ll ask the driver to perform roadside tests, which drivers can refuse if they like. The officer then will decide whether or not to take the person into custody. Drivers may also refuse a roadside chemical test (Breathalyzer) if they like, but if they do, they automatically have their license revoked for one year, he said. Law enforcement officers prefer not to get to the point of roadside and chemical tests, however. “It pays to pay a taxi guy $20 to get you home rather than $10,000 to get a DUI,” Dawn said.”

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