755th AMXS takes measures to deter DUI

Members from the 755th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 355th Equipment Maintenance Squadron and American Family Insurance Auto Claims pose for a group photo in front of a wrecked automobile outside of Craycroft gate at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., May 22, 2014. Wrecked automobiles were placed at four entrances at D-M to deter Airmen from driving under the influence. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski/Released)

Members from the 755th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 355th Equipment Maintenance Squadron and American Family Insurance Auto Claims pose for a group photo in front of a wrecked automobile outside of Craycroft gate at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., May 22, 2014. Wrecked automobiles were placed at four entrances at D-M to deter Airmen from driving under the influence. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski/Released)

Michael Cook, American Family Insurance Auto Claims physical damage claim field manager, holds up a squad coin after being presented with a token of appreciation by U.S. Air Force Maj. Douglas Warren, 755th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander, at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., May 22, 2014. Cook aided in the donation of unsalvageable vehicles intended to give Airmen a visual example of the potential consequences that stem from driving under the influence and texting while driving. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski/Released)

Michael Cook, American Family Insurance Auto Claims physical damage claim field manager, holds up a squad coin after being presented with a token of appreciation by U.S. Air Force Maj. Douglas Warren, 755th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander, at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., May 22, 2014. Cook aided in the donation of unsalvageable vehicles intended to give Airmen a visual example of the potential consequences that stem from driving under the influence and texting while driving. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski/Released)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Rarely am I able to pass through any of the base gates without being drawn to the status board which shows the latest alcohol related incidents. Often the "days counter" does not exceed 30 before another Airman is exposed for failing to follow the law. It is hard to imagine how any Airman can miss the message to not drink and drive and to be a good wingman. So why do Airmen continue to find themselves in bad situations?

Perhaps they were unaware of their limits and thought they were safe enough to drive. Others may have thought they wouldn't get caught in the act.

The State Justice Department reported that over 1.17 million Americans were arrested in 2013 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.

The reasons why our Airmen falter are as numerous as there are DUI cases. However, a vast majority of our Airmen have embraced the "No DUI" message and understand the risks and consequences that accompany drunk driving.

The 755th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron's focus is on those who are at risk to make a bad decision. We have developed a multi-pronged campaign to combat DUI by focusing on three key elements: developing and executing a plan, emphasizing the negative impacts of drinking and driving and an in-your-face awareness campaign.

First and foremost, we are spending time developing and executing a plan. Airmen put themselves in situations where they have no plan to return home safely after drinking, or they fail to follow their existing plan. To help, the squadron booster club worked with a local cab company to provide Airmen with free rides home. We issued Airmen a DUI card that has all the necessary information to get home safely, even if they have nothing but the card. When called, the cab company will provide the ride and send the booster club an invoice. Also included on the card are squadron phone numbers and Airmen Against Drunk Driving information.

Second, we invited the Tucson Police Department and representatives from Mothers Against Drunk Driving to talk with Airmen at D-M.

The TPD officers described how the court process significantly impacts those arrested in Tucson for DUI. Arrests under these circumstances include substantial lawyer and court fees, possible installation of vehicle interlock systems, a criminal record and jail time.

A MADD representative described how a drunk driver altered her life. She stressed that a drunk driver's poor decision led to the death of loved ones in her family.

Finally, we have initiated an aggressive in-your-face awareness campaign. With help from American Family Insurance and AA Auto Auctions, we acquired wrecked cars and placed them at four base gates for all to see. Large signs are attached that detail the many issues and fines our Airmen will face if arrested. The visual aid provides an eye opening experience while looking at the massive amount of damage done to the cars.

We continue to talk about DUI with our Airmen during every opportunity to include commander's calls, roll calls and individual counseling sessions.

Leaders at every level must continue to emphasize that it will take constant focus, relentless awareness and solid decision making to lower the number of DUIs. Whether an Airman receives a DUI on or off base, the impacts are detrimental to their lives and careers.

We need to continue challenging our Airmen to develop and execute plans before they decide to go out and drink. Their judgment is critical in reducing the number of alcohol related incidents associated with D-M.