Source: Scottsdale Police Department

Major sporting events attract crowds and drinkers, which means that drunk driving isn’t far behind. To make the problem known, the Scottsdale Police Department conducted an educational program called “Know Your Limit” at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

The program raises awareness of the prevalence of drunk driving by asking volunteers to blow into a breathalyzer. If the device reveals a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of over .08 – the legal limit for intoxication – they are given a card which outlines the penalties for drunk driving – which are stiff in Arizona.

The results of last week’s program are certainly noteworthy. Of 9026 people tested during the four days of the Phoenix Open:

  • 4.141 Were over .08
  • 271 were over .20 (2.5 times the legal limit)
  • 11 were over .30 (almost four times the legal limit)

Of those 4432 intoxicated people, 411 would have driven home had they not been alerted by the “Know Your Limit” program. That’s 9.2 percent.

We’ll never know how many people at the event drank, declined to be tested, and then drove home. But it’s frightening to think that there might have over 400 additional drunks on the road – some of them very seriously drunk – had they not been alerted.

It’s called “Know Your Limit” for a reason. Most people don’t know their alcohol limits. They don’t know how many drinks it takes to get to .08, and they don’t know that the buzz they’re feeling is more than enough to compromise their faculties and make them a hazard on the road.

To those who think that it’s only incorrigible, hard-core alcoholics who drive drunk, these results should will be a surprise. Not too many hard-core drunk drivers volunteer for breath tests at police-staffed kiosks. They are mostly people out for a good time who have no idea that they have drunk too much to be fit to drive. We hope the Scottsdale Police gave them a clue. And we hope the information gets passed on to the 9.2% of drinkers who still think they can drive. Good advice: know your limit.

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