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DRUNK DRIVING: Temperature, OWIs on the rise

May 7, 2013

Whitley County Jail Commander Shawn Martin demonstrates the jail’s breathalyzer test on a corrections officer, Lauren Schmidt. Post & Mail photo / Nicole Ott

COLUMBIA CITY — In the eyes of many third-shift law enforcement officers — as the temperature rises, so does the number of drunk drivers.

“There’s a definite difference between summer and winter on third shift,” Whitley County Sheriff’s Sergeant Todd Cook said. “If it’s nice out, people are going to be out doing things, and around here, that tends to involve alcohol.”

The question many people have to ask themselves is — how much is too much?

Most kegs of beer don’t come with a complimentary portable breath test, so how can a responsible person know when to quit?

The answer is not as simple as some might hope for.

“Every person is different,” Cook said.

The legal driving blood alcohol level in Indiana is .08. Blood alcohol content (BAC) varies from person to person, mostly depending on sex, weight and age.

But more than just the number, some people who only test .05 may appear to be more drunk than a person who tests .18.

“We get people that might test .05, but if they don’t drink very often, they might be driving all over the road,” Cook said. “They have no business being on the road either.

“At the same time, a seasoned drunk could test .18, but will sit and talk to you like nothing is wrong.”

To read the rest of this story, see the May 7 issue of The Post and Mail. Don't have a subscription? Call (260) 244-5153 or subscribe to our e-edition. For breaking news, sports updates and additional coverage, bookmark the homepage and find us on facebook and twitter.

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