Advocacy, Drug-Impaired Driving, Drunk Driving, DUI/DWI/OWI/OWAI, Ignition Interlock, Road Safety Research, Traffic Safety

Spotlight on TIRF

The Traffic Injury Research Foundation USA focuses on road user behaviors to deliver high-quality road safety research services. It is an expansion into the U.S. of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation of Canada, established in 1964 and internationally recognized for its accomplishments in a wide range of subject related to identifying the causes of road crashes and developing programs and policies to address them effectively. ]

tirf-logo8TIRF recently published its 51st annual report with interesting statistics on teenage driving, women driving while intoxicated, and information on the development a multi-disciplinary knowledge transfer (KT) model that can accommodate the complexities of the road safety environment and the diverse practitioners that work within it. TIRF USA is about to embark on an evaluation of the ignition interlock program in Minnesota. The goal of this project is to examine the effectiveness of the ignition interlock program in Minnesota and to provide a comprehensive report to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Office of Traffic Safety. Following the implementation of a pilot ignition interlock program, Minnesota implemented a statewide ignition interlock program in 2011. The two primary goals of the program are to prevent impaired driving and reduce DWI re-offenses. This evaluation is critical as it represents the first evaluation of the program since its statewide implementation. The evaluation will include advanced statistical analysis to determine if the program is having the desired effect of deterring motorists from driving while impaired and thereby enhancing road safety. Program participation rates as well as profiles of program participants will be explored. The evaluation will identify characteristics of those drivers most likely to complete the program successfully and those who are most likely to continue to attempt to drive while intoxicated despite the interlock being placed on their vehicle. The study will also provide information on recidivism rates for those all individuals who are eligible for the interlock program. The evaluation is expected to be completed in September 2015. For further information, visit the TIRF website at


Drug-Impaired Driving, Drunk Driving, DUI/DWI/OWI/OWAI

Surviving a civil war to be killed in his driveway

You don’t have to be on a road to be arrested for a DUI 

Soukvilay Barton, 37, was arrested earlier this week on suspicion of DUI. She wasn’t driving on the freeway. She wasn’t even on a road. She was in her driveway, attempting to leave her home, where she had been drinking and arguing with family members. Her father, Bounmy Rajsombath, 69, thought he could prevent her from driving while drunk by standing in the path between the driveway and the street. She ran him over. The sad point of this story is not that Barton was arrested, held in the county jail on suspicion of driving under the influence and gross vehicle manslaughter. No, the sad point is that her father had survived the horrors of civil war in Laos only to be run-over and killed by his own daughter who was trying to drive while drunk. Rajsombath’s funeral services will be held on June 21st. His son-in-law said that Rajsombath had to dodge bullets from the communists trying to kill him for aiding the enemy, and swam across the Mekong River to get to Thailand, where he worked in a refugee camp.  He later migrated to the United States, became a plumber, and was very respected in the Loatian immigrant community.  Soukvilay Barton’s bail was set at $75,000, and she lost her father she loved.

The original story reported by UPI and printed in the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.

Distracted Driving, Texting and Driving

Texting while driving – bad for teens, bad for adults…..


Texting While Driving – No text message is worth the damage it causes

It isn’t easy to text while you drive – you have to take your hands off the steering wheel, your eyes off the road, and your concentration away from where you are going. Texting is considered the most dangerous form of distracted driving. Statistically, a driver is 23 times more likely to be involved in a car crash if texting while driving. The bottom line:  no text message is worth the damages it can cause. Don’t believe it?  Take the “it Can Wait” texting and driving simulator at to experience first hand how you react to conditions presented to a drive while texting.

Teenagers are notorious for texting – it is their lifeline to their friends and the outside world. A recent teen driver survey found that 97% say texting while driving is dangerous.  But adults, too, need to be reminded of the dangers of dangerous driving.  In ATT’s “It Can Wait” campaign, over 1,000 adults were surveyed about texting while driving.  Nearly half (49%) admitted to texting while they were driving, with about 43% of adults calling it a “habit.” Of the adults who admitted to texting while driving, the majority claimed they knew that it was wrong and dangerous, but did it anyway. The study concluded concluded that if parents do not have a rule against texting while driving and/or do it themselves, their young adult is more likely to drive distracted.

ATT has published a fact sheet on texting while driving, and has spearheaded a campaign against texting while driving.  Join the conversation at #itcanwait. View the It Can Wait YouTube channel for texting while driving videos.