Lee Nye and Dave Kranz, KCEY disc jockeys, will probably never have as novel or fun filled assignment as they had on the job yesterday morning.  They got  "wiped out "  "Slightly crocked." Or inebriated, if you will.

Nye, drinking vodka and tomato juice, and Kranz, imbibing coffee with brandy, consumed eight and six ounces of  liquor respectively from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. while carrying on their regular broadcast duties.

The experiment was the brainchild of Henry Engbrecht of the Modesto Police Department (MPD) and designed to provide a graphic illustration of the effect of liquor one's ability to function.

The experiment concluded with the consensus that if you are planning to party during the holidays, or any other time for that matter, be sure and make arrangements for returning home other than attempting to drive yourself. This precaution could save an arrest for drunken driving and perhaps even save yours or someone else's life. 

Nye, for instance, was unable to correctly recite the alphabet,  was a bit unsteady on his feet and had trouble making the necessary transition to live radio in the sound room.  Kranz, although performing in fine fashion as far as enunciation of the news broadcast, spoke a bit faster than normal,  experienced a numbness of lips, became flushed in the face and achieved a bloodshot  eye condition.

To document the experiment, the officers used a breath analysis machine which measured the alcoholic content of the two men. California law rules that anyone who has an alcohol level of .10 percent is intoxicated and can be charged while driving under the influence of liquor.  Nye reached a .11 level.  However, both Hardman of the CHP and Engbrecht of the MPD, said the outward disarray of the two would have caused them to be arrested and booked had they been driving a vehicle.

Chisum and Lovaas explained that for every ounce of alcohol consumed, it takes an hour of no drinking to recover from the effects. "Thus'" said Chisum, "if you have a .10 level at a private party, you will be better off making arrangements to stay the night or be driven home."

Claims that beer is not as bad as liquor or that champagne is less intoxicating than beer have no validity. Coffee at the end of the evening is no cure for intoxication either according to the panel,  although they said eating proteins while drinking would slow the rate of alcohol absorption into the system.

Lack of good judgment was cited by both Chisum and Lovaas as a product of too much drinking. "It's interesting," said  Chisum, "to hear from someone with alcohol level of .06 percent, for instance, that he feels he shouldn't drive. However, when he reaches a higher level, he begins to assume an ability to handle the car. This, in itself,  indicates a falling off ' of judgment as" the alcohol  level increases.

Hardman and Engbrecht pointed out some less aesthetic aspects of mixing drinking and driving.  Going to jail, paying a $375 fine, maybe $500 for an attorney, cost of a bail bondsman, loss of wages for court appearances, notoriety, increased insurance rates and other unpleasant results which can cost up to $1500.

Engbrecht said officers notice drivers with impaired judgment when they to too slow  stop at yellow lights, weave from side to side and go to sleep while stopped at a traffic light.  "Then when we talk to a person who has been drinking, we can almost always smell the odor of liquor and notice the condition of the subject while conducting the sobriety test," he said.

Enbrecht had several suggestions which he said would lead to a happy year ahead after the holidays. "If you are a host, know when to close down the bar. If you are a guest, space your drinks, choose a reliable bartender and make arrangements for transportation home," he advised.

Hardman called for better realization by the public as to the tragic results caused by drinking drivers. "Last year this county had 14 murders investigated by the FBI and people were upset. Yet we had 20 fatals  caused by drinking drivers and that didn't cause nearly as much alarm. Yet the results were the same."

Lovaas called attention to the 12 fatalities in automobile accidents in 1908 when there were few cars on the road. Nine of these were related to drinking which is 75 percent. That same percentage holds today.

"The program this morning is a good illustration of the loss of judgment caused by drinking and I hope those who have listened will be able to pass the world on to their friends" Hardman said.

As for Nye and Kranz,  the two announcers.  "Just put us down as having our New Years Eve Party much earlier than most and certainly much cheaper," says Nye.

(Courtesy of Bob Neutzling)

Lee Nye (left) and Dave Kranz are shown in the middle of the Friday morning news show on KCEY Radio in which they participated in an experiment on drinking conducted by law enforcement officers of Stanislaus County.
Drinking Experiment Shows Driving Danger

Saturday December 23, 1978