Driving under the influence is not worth it

| September 26, 2014 | 0 Comments

Col. Duane Miller
Director, Emergency Services,
U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, and
Commander, 8th Military Police Brigade,
8th Theater Sustainment Command

For those who are 21 years of age and enjoy a few drinks now and then, pre-event planning can ensure everyone has a good time and, most importantly, that everyone gets home safely.

One of the most common downfalls of not planning ahead is taking the risk of driving when under the influence of an intoxicant. Driving under the influence of an intoxicant can have severe negative consequences on your family, your career and your life.

Col Miller


This year alone, there have already been 139 incidents of driving under the influence involving U.S. Army Hawaii. This fact has placed our fellow Soldiers, family members and civilians at great risk of injury or death. These violations have further negative consequences that can and will last a lifetime.

Alcohol-related offenses range from misdemeanor to felony, with penalties including, but not limited to, the following: imprisonment, community service, fines and license suspension. Additionally, on U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii installations, there is an automatic one-year on-post driving suspension for first-time violators of these laws and regulations.

All convictions also result in referral to substance abuse counseling.

For members of the military, driving under the influence can also have severe effects on an individual’s career. If a Soldier drives under the influence, he can face punishment through Article 15 proceedings, and the chain of command may initiate adverse administrative actions against the Soldier.

Administrative actions can include General Officer Memorandums of Reprimand (GOMOR), bars to re-enlistment or negative statements on evaluation reports (OER/NCOER).

A nondrinking designated driver should always be planned for events. (File photo )

A nondrinking designated driver should always be planned for events. (File photo )

With this negative information in your record, you could face separation from the military immediately following the incident, or during the next officer or enlisted separation board. Separation may be initiated after even a first alcohol-related incident; however, two serious alcohol-related incidents within 12 months will result in a mandatory initiation of separation.

Separation for driving under the influence could also mean a discharge under other than honorable conditions, which can prevent future employment opportunities and make you ineligible for future schooling. This can also potentially affect entitlements, such as the post 9/11 GI Bill.

Don’t let your decision to drive under the influence affect the rest of your life. Plan your evening and your ride home prior to heading out, and use the resources available to you when plans fall through.

In the end, the personal cost of driving under the influence of an intoxicant can range upwards of $11,000. Consider this statistic compared to the average rate of hotel rooms in Honolulu or a taxi ride.

If at the end of the night, no one in your group is sober, call a friend, battle buddy or even your chain of command to coordinate a ride home. The Drunk Driving Prevention Program (DDPP) and Soldiers Against Drunk Driving (SADD) are organizations comprised of Soldiers and civilians who volunteer their time to provide free rides to those in need. When your night ends unexpectedly, these individuals will ensure you make it home safely.

Driving under the influence puts you, your passengers and other travelers at risk. Be smart and make the choice to drive sober or not at all.

• Resources
For more information about responsible driving programs and other options available, call (808) 888-7407, (808) 224-1907 or visit www.ddpp.us.

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Category: News, Police Call, Standing Columns

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