Driving Under the Influence - can you afford it?

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Eugene Kampe
  • 71st Medical Group superintendent
We've all heard the statistics and dangers about driving while intoxicated, but do we really realize what these actions could cost us? Here are three examples, using individuals apprehended by the security forces for a driving under the influence arrest following the consumption of a six-pack of beer. Although disciplinary actions taken by a commander may vary and are handled on a case-by-case basis, typical punishment includes an Article 15 and loss of one grade.

A senior airman, reduced to airman 1st class will lose $8,006 over the two-year period it takes to earn the grade back. Cost per beer - $1,334. For a technical sergeant reduced to staff sergeant over a five-year period, the loss will be $35,358. Cost per beer - $5,893. For a master sergeant reduced to technical sergeant, the loss, including the potential effect to retirement pay during an average 30-year life span, will rise to $191,184. Cost per beer - $31,864.

Other actions may include being restricted to base, given extra duties, lose half your base pay for two months, be enrolled in some form of alcoholism rehabilitation program or administratively separated from the Air Force.

Security forces also initiate actions. Not only is your on-base driving privileges revoked for one year, the department of motor vehicles from the state your driver's license was issued is normally notified. End result: your car insurance premiums will skyrocket.

If the incident is off base, besides punishment imposed by the Air Force, the costs get even higher. The driver will be jailed until released to military authorities or makes bail, face the risk of a civil trial and could be convicted. Don't forget, your state driver's license will be revoked and your insurance premiums will increase. When you toss in attorney fees, which can easily cost thousands of dollars and time lost from work, it's evident that drinking and driving are not worth it.

Bottom line: Don't drink and drive.