MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. --
It only takes one alcoholic beverage to impair an individual’s abilities to drive a car. The loss of depth perception, reaction time and judgment can lead to dangerous situations for someone driving drunk.
According to the Century Council, an organization against drunk driving, there is a good chance those who do drink and drive will eventually face their first driving under the influence citation with law enforcement stepping up their patrols against drunk drivers and 80 percent of the drinking population admitting they have driven after drinking before.
Marines aboard the Air Station also face the same challenges of drinking and driving. There have been two drunken driving deaths recently in the Marine Corps as a result of careless decisions.
“Marines drink to have fun and do not think of the consequences while they drink,” said Cpl. Jarmon Ward, a culinary specialist aboard the Air Station. “While they are drinking, their judgment is clouded and they think they are being responsible if they don’t leave their vehicles. It’s not the smartest decision to drive after drinking any amount of alcohol.”
According to Marine Corps Order 1700.22E, Marines who participate indrinking and driving will be punished accordingly. Restriction, loss of rank and pay or other forms of punishment are examples of what could happen to a Marine who chooses to drink and drive.
“When I got my DUI, I got 30 days of restriction, driving privileges suspended for a year and wasn’t able to pick up rank for a year,” said Cpl. Chandra Drayton, an airfield watch supervisor with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron aboard the Air Station. “More importantly, I let down the Marines around me.”
After a drinking and driving incident, Marines are not allowed to use their vehicles for a specify amount of time on or off base. They have to earn the trust of their command before being able to drive again after already being non-judicially punished or served an amount of brig time.
As an alternative, Marines can utilize the Arrive Alive Program, which allows a Marine to use a cab company of their choice and the duty pays the fare and the amount is logged into the duty book. “It definitely was not worth it. I will never drive drunk again,” Drayton said. “Now I always have a designated driver, or I will use my Arrive Alive card.”
“When I heard about my friends getting in trouble because they were caught driving intoxicated, I couldn’t believe it,” Ward said. “Whoever (the drunk Marines) were around let them down.
“As Marines, we need to look out for our brothers and sisters and attempt to offer them rides, or we should try to take their keys,” Ward continued. “We shouldn’t drive. If you’re going to drink, call a cab or always have a designated driver. It saves lives.”