What better setting could there be for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to implement the DUI awareness campaign “Know Your Limits” than at the annual Brew Hee Haw Craft Beer Roundup at the Orange County Fair?
For $50, fairgoers on July 12 got to “enjoy unlimited tastes from some of the best breweries from Southern California and beyond,” as stated on the OC Fair & Event Center’s website.
“Unlimited tastes” being the key phrase here.
So while 46 beer vendors offered up 3-ounce tasters for about four hours, deputies and other OCSD personnel offered up breathalyzers, which measure a person’s blood alcohol level.
“Know Your Limits” is designed to make alcohol imbibers more aware of their blood alcohol levels, especially if they plan on getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Drivers with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher are considered legally intoxicated in California.
“A couple of years ago, we came out here as kind of a test trial,” said OCSD Sgt. Brian Sims, who oversaw the operation. “Last year was such a huge hit, now they’ve asked us to come back every year to assist in the educational process.
“It’s a positive opportunity to get out and educate the public and allow them to mingle with us in a non-confrontational environment. We get all kinds of comments, but we don’t get anything negative.”
Instead, many who volunteered to blow into the breathalyzer thanked the OCSD for their presence and desire to educate the public.
“Know Your Limits” is funded through a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety and is part of a three-pronged campaign aimed at curtailing intoxicated driving, along with DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols.
Even some vendors at Brew Hee Haw were appreciative.
“I think it’s a good idea because you don’t really know what your limit is,” said Steve Dahlin of the Wild Barrel Brewing Company in San Marcos. Dahlin “blew” a .05, which is under the legal limit.
“I think they ought to be at all these events,” he said.
Before administering the breath test, the deputies typically asked the participant if they felt they were over the legal limit.
“I love this idea,” said Suzanne Morris of Tustin Ranch, who discovered she was well under the legal limit after blowing in the breathalyzer.
“I’ve been to many beer fests and wine fests and there’s never been anything like this,” Morris said. “For myself, I don’t drink a lot so I have no clue what it takes to get me to the point where I shouldn’t be driving.”
Some who took the breath tests thought their BAC would be higher than it actually turned out being.
Many had enough common sense to take a Lyft or Uber or travel with a designated driver.
Katelyn Huseby, who had traveled from Long Beach to attend the tasting event, didn’t need to concern herself with driving through one of those checkpoints or be caught in a saturation patrol.
Huseby blew a .07, just a hair under the legal limit, after she drank four tasters.
“I’m taking a Lyft,” she said. “I knew what I was getting into.”