Drug-Impaired Driving, Drunk Driving, DUI/DWI/OWI/OWAI, DWAI, Repeat DUI offender

Drunk drivers reported driving impaired 80 times before their first arrest

According to Do Something, a global movement activating young people in every US area code and in 131 countries, on average, a drunk driver will drive 80 times under the influence before their first arrest. That equates to someone being killed in a drunk driving crash every 51 minutes in America alone.  Earlier this month in Colorado, a man notorious for driving drunk was sentenced to 10 years in prison when convicted of his eighth DUI.

The Daily News reported that Albano Bustillos, 53, was arrested on his first drunk driving charge over 20 years ago and has been picked up eight times since then. “In his most recent arrest, Bustillos had a blood alcohol level of .227.

Albano_Bustillos
Albano Bustillos 8x DUI arrests, now serving 10 years in prison – Weld County Sheriffs photo

He was found sitting in his car with his head down,” said Weld County (Colorado) District Attorney Rourke. In Colorado, drivers with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .17 or higher, even if it is the driver’s first offense, will be labeled a PERSISTENT DRUNK DRIVER (PDD) and
sentenced as strictly as a repeat-DUI offender.

In Colorado, DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired) means driving a vehicle when a person has consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs, affects the person to the slightest degree. A person DWAI is less able to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle.  The Division of Motor Vehicles has the legal authority to suspend a driver’s license for DWAI regardless of any criminal charges a driver may face through the courts. These penalties, known as Administrative Penalties, can cause an automatic suspension of a driver’s license as well as fees and points, depending on the offense:

DWAI 1st Offense: 8 points toward license suspension; $200 to $500 fine; up to 180 days in jail; up to 48 hours community service.

DUI 1st Offense: Administrative license revocation for 9 months; $600 to $1,000 fine; up to 1 year in jail; up to 96 hours community service; alcohol education.

DUI/DWAI 1st offense under 21 years old: Drivers license suspended 3 months and 4 points added to driving record.

The penalties increase substantially for repeated offenses and, in some cases, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device on your car. The only way to challenge Administrative penalties is to request an alcohol hearing.

Alcohol Hearings

Drivers have seven days after receiving a revocation/suspension notice to request a hearing. You must go in person to the DMV to put in a request. You will also be required to turn over your license if you did not do so at the time of the violation. You may also be eligible for a temporary driving permit while you wait for your hearing.

An Arrest

  • If you fail the roadside sobriety test, which could entail anything from standing on one leg while answering a barrage of questions to touching your nose and walking a straight line, you will be read your rights.
  • You will be handcuffed and taken to a city or county jail.
  • A tow truck will take your car and impound it.

Criminal Penalties

The Colorado Department of Transportation’s HEAT IS ON brochure states that 30,000
motorists are arrested for impaired driving in Colorado each year at a cost of $10,270  for a first-offense DWAI:  $10,000 including lawyer fees, rising insurance rates, fees to get a license back, probation supervision fees, all the way down to the brain injury surcharge and court costs. This figure is based on the minimum fine.

It is easy to see that drinking and driving is not worth any cost.

Drug-Impaired Driving, Drunk Driving, DUI/DWI/OWI/OWAI, Holiday Travel, Sobriety Check Points

A time to remember the fallen from DUIs and DUIDs.

graveyard

Today is Memorial Day, when we honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. The presidential proclamation for the commemoration emphasizes the meaning behind the holiday:

Memorial Day is our nation’s solemn reminder that freedom is never free. It is a moment of collective reflection on the noble sacrifices of those who gave the last measure of devotion in service of our ideals and in the defense of our nation. On this ceremonious day, we remember the fallen, we pray for a lasting peace among nations, and we honor these guardians of our inalienable rights.

Memorial Day is also a time to remember the fallen at the hands of drunk and drugged drivers – DUI/DWI/OWI and DUIDs. Car accidents kill more people than wars do, except for the Civil War where 620,000 soldiers lost their lives in battle. Every 53 minutes in America someone is killed in a drunk driving crash – that amounts to 28 people who die every day in motor vehicle crashes that involve a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol with annual costs of alcohol-related crashes totalling more than $44 billion. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) give us more somber facts to contemplate as we celebrate the official kickoff of summer:

 

  • In 2014, 9,967 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.
  • Of the 1,070 traffic deaths among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2014, 209 (19%) involved an alcohol-impaired driver.
  • Of the 209 child passengers ages 14 and younger who died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2014, over half (116) were riding in the vehicle with the alcohol-impaired driver.
  • In 2014, over 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. That’s one percent of the 121 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults each year.
  • Drugs other than alcohol (legal and illegal) are involved in about 16% of motor vehicle crashes.
  • Marijuana use is increasing and 13% of nighttime, weekend drivers have marijuana in their system.
  • Marijuana users were about 25% more likely to be involved in a crash than drivers with no evidence of marijuana use, however other factors – such as age and gender – may account for the increased crash risk among marijuana users.

Law enforcement around the country are targeting drunk and drugged drivers on this first holiday weekend of the summer driving season, and local police, sheriffs and highway patrol officers are on full alert. So if you celebrate Memorial Day by getting drunk or high, please don’t get behind the wheel. There are so many ways to get home safe – call a taxi, get a sober friend or family member to drive you home, schedule a ride-share service, or crash on the sofa.

 

 

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

#MemorialDay – Countdown to 100 Deadliest Days

NHTSA_QuickFacts_Fatalities_2013-2015

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), between 2013 and 2015,  92,424 fatal crashes occurred resulting in 100,729 fatalities and 7,094,000 injuries. At certain times of the year, such as holidays and summertime, the numbers spike with a higher volume of road travelers, including a significantly higher number of alcohol-impaired drivers, causing nearly twice the number of automotive deaths during summer months than during the rest of the year combined. The summer and early fall are the most dangerous times of year on the nation’s roads, according to an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) analysis. Two important holidays fall within this timeframe for increased travel – Memorial Day and Labor Day. This period is often referred to as the 100 Deadliest Days for teens,  summer vacation for most students and the time most will drink and drive. Fatalities also are higher on weekends and in the late afternoon and evenings. The trends reflect the fact that Americans drive the most miles during the warm summer months. Weekends and certain holidays with increased alcohol consumption also see spikes in deaths.

Traveling on a major holiday is risky for many reasons. In general, there are more people on the roads, and drivers may be navigating areas beyond their regular commuting routes. There’s a high incidence of alcohol use, which sharply raises the risk of crashing.  IIHS Research and Statistical Services

Delays
With almost 40 million people sharing the roads, skies and buses, best plan for delays

According to the AAA annual forecast, 39.4 million people are expected to travel more than 50 miles from their homes  over the Memorial Day weekend, the highest in 12 years. Of these, 34.6 million Americans (88.1 percent of travelers) will drive to their destinations, an increase of 2.4 percent over last year. But Memorial Day weekend is not the most fatal for drivers. According to IIHS, on average, more people die in motor vehicle crashes on Independence Day than any other day of the year, with motorcycles and alcohol both being big contributors to the Fourth of July toll. In an analysis of the five most recent years of available fatal crash data indicates, IIHS researchers found that each year on the Independence Day holiday in the U.S., an average of 118.4 lives are lost in crashes, making it the most consistently deadly day of the year across the five-year study period. This is 28 more deaths than the overall average daily toll during 2010-14. The second worst day for crash deaths during 2010-14 was January 1, with an average toll of 118.2 deaths – almost as high as the Fourth of July.

Alcohol is a factor in a greater proportion of crash deaths on both July 4 and January 1. Forty-seven percent of the deaths on July 4 and 62 percent on January 1 involved at least one driver, pedestrian or bicyclist with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08g/dL. The average across all days in these years was 35 percent for deaths in crashes involving alcohol.

 

 

Drug-Impaired Driving, Drunk Driving, DUI/DWI/OWI/OWAI, Victims of DUI, Vulnerable Road Users

A very good detective with a very bad drinking problems

 

walking_home_from_bus

…..”a drunk man running over children, scattering them like a bowling ball through bowling pins”, was the description Polk County (Florida) Sheriff Grady Judd gave for the incident of a suspected drunken driver hitting six middle-school students as they walked home from the bus stop.  One of the children, 13, died of his injuries; another student, also 13,  remains in intensive care with orbital fractures. Three other children, ranging in age from 12 to 15, suffered minor injuries.  And the driver?  A 48-year-old former law enforcement officer, who also hit another car about 400 feet down the road, injured a woman who was four months pregnant.

Drunk_Driving_Suspect_Polk_County

The suspect refused to take a breath test after his arrest. Upon learning that the victims of his drunk driving were in critical condition, he agreed to take a breath test and a blood draw. Seven hours after the crash, he still read a Blood Alcohol Level of 0.14 – DUI threshold in Florida is .08. He faces 11 charges, including DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide, and is being held on $600,000 bail.

This suspect was apparently a good law enforcement officer, receiving alcolades from his former employers. There is no record that he ever had a problem with the law, and had no record of being convicted of a felony. On the contrary was praised as being a good detective, but apparently had a drinking problem.

___________________________

Original story reported by the Associated Press.

Drug-Impaired Driving, Drunk Driving, DUI/DWI/OWI/OWAI, Holiday Travel, Uncategorized

Apps to keep drunk drivers off the road

 

Stop_DUI
STOPDUI.ORG one of our featured apps to lessen the occurrences of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  Source:  www.stopdui.org

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, thousands are killed each year by alcohol-impaired drivers:
–  10,322 people were killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes in the U.S. in 2012 – those fatalities accounted for one-third of motor vehicle traffic fatalities
–  The number of fatalities from drunk driving crashes increased 4.6% from 2011 to 2012
Drunk driving is particularly notorious around the year-end holidays, where more police patrols are on alert for drunk drivers, and designated driver programs are in full swing. @smartccouncil has published information on smartphone applications developed to keep drunk drivers off the road:

*  The Wisconsin Department of Transportation supports the drive campaign, ZERO IN WISCONSIN.  The mobile app was developed to assist individuals who may be intoxicated to find a safe ride home, and comes in a several  languages.

*  Maryland has ENDUI to educate people about making good choices when drinking by estimating the user’s blood alcohol content.  The app also has games to help them gauge their response times and features call buttons, for a designated driver, a taxi or to report a drunk driver.

*  The Stop-DWI HAVE A PLAN app features an impairment estimator, a GPS feature for taxi service and an  interactive app with four skill assessments that test a user’s mobility, reaction time, memory and accuracy.

*  To report drunk drivers, use DUI  CAM by placing a smartphone in a dashboard mount. The app  can scan the make/model of the car and zoom in on the license plate of suspected intoxicated drivers. Once the screenshot or video is saved, it can be sent via email or texted/called in to authorities.

Drunk Driving, DUI/DWI/OWI/OWAI, Field Sobriety Tests, Technology

Laser technology pegs drunk drivers

infrared laser thermometer in hand
Laser Technology designed to check a driver’s blood-alcohol level from afar

Gotta love technology. Researchers at the Military University of Technology in Poland have come up with a laser-based device that can measure blood-alcohol levels through a car window. It is the same technology, referred to as standoff detection, the military uses to find weapons, hazardous materials and explosives and where lasers and optical techniques are of critical importance for their ability to passively and actively probe threats near and far. Standoff detection can take place at distances from several centimeters up to a kilometer.

How does it work? According to an article in Smithsonian.com:

A laser emitter and receiver sit on one side of the road, while a mirror sits on the other. As a car passes, the emitter sends a laser beam through the vehicle’s window and bounces it off the mirror. The beam is sent at a wavelength that can be absorbed by any alcohol vapor—so, any power loss equates to the presence of booze in the car. If there is no alcohol, there is no absorption. The higher the concentration of the alcohol inside the car, the lower the power measured, because the beam is absorbed by the alcohol.

This laser technology could make checkpoints a thing of the past. But first, there are a few legal hurdles to overcome, including securing a ruling on whether the technology can meet the reasonable doubt test officers must have to pull over a suspected drunk driver. Researchers of the technology must also fix challenging bugs in the system, for example the device giving a false alarm if only the passenger is drunk, and failing to give a reading if the window is open.

Drug-Impaired Driving, Drunk Driving, DUI/DWI/OWI/OWAI, Holiday Travel, Sobriety Check Points

Happy birthday America – getting ready to celebrate

 

tow-to-go
AAA and Bud Light project to get intoxicated drivers off the road during holidays and major events

AAA and Bud Light are teaming up again this year to remind Americans to always choose a designated driver for a safe ride home. The annual TOW TO GO is a free service, available to both AAA members and non-members.  Initiated in 1998, TOW TO GO is sponsored to get intoxicated drivers off the road. It is available during major holidays and events in selected areas of the U.S. featuring:

  • Confidential local ride within a 10-mile radius to a safe location
  • Service is provided in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee
  • The AAA tow truck takes the vehicle and the driver home

Important TOW TO GO Guidelines:

  • Tow trucks can take up to two people home; if there are more people in your party—you will need to make other arrangements to get home safely.
  • You can’t make an appointment to use the Tow to Go service, it is designed to be used as a last resort so have a designated driver before you have your first drink.
  • It may be necessary, in certain situations, for AAA to contact a cab company or local law enforcement to assist with getting the intoxicated individual a safe ride.

For more information, download the TOW TO GO 2014 Fact Sheet. Happy birthday America! Enjoy the celebrations, and get home – safe and sound.

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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 http://tirf.ca/index.php

 

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

Surviving a civil war to be killed in his driveway

DUI_at_home
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.

Drunk Driving, Road Rage

Drunk man run over by own pickup truck

dead_man_in_street

It’s easy for drunk people to forget little things – like making sure their car is in parked when getting out. The Gainesville Sun reported on such an incident, when 48-year-old Joseph Carl drove into a vehicle stopped at a red light one rainy evening. This apparently set off “road rage” – aggressive behavior of a driver toward another driver. Data from a recent study indicate there is a significant relationship between alcohol consumption and road rage, and this incident shows the results. The article tells the story: He got out of his truck without putting it in park and began banging on the window of a woman’s car. This frightened the woman, who drove away, leaving the man vulnerable to a truck still in gear. The truck rolled into him, fracturing his hand and foot. Carl was charged with DUI and DUI property damage.