Joshua Todd Hill Hauserman, a lawyer from West Palm Beach, was suspended for 30 days placed on two years’ probation for failing to complete treatment for alcohol problems. Hauserman, managing partner of the Hauserman Law Group, admitted to violating the terms of the Florida Lawyers Assistance by testing positive for alcohol on five different occasions and failing to timely remit his monthly monitoring fee.
Hauserman pleaded guilty in 2014 to driving under the influence and his driver’s license was suspended for five years. At the time of his current arrest, he was driving on a suspended license with a 3-year-old child and had two flat tires. This was his second DUI,
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Colorado Department of Transportation’s HEAT IS ONbrochure 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.
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.
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
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.
Kansas City Police took to Twitter @kcpolice to announce the death of Toni Anderson, the missing woman from Wichita who was found dead in her submerged car in the Missouri River. Medical examiners reported ethanol, cocaine and amphetamine intoxication were contributing factors to the cause of death from hypothermia and drowning. She had turned 21 just last month.
The victim had been pulled over hours before she drove into the river for driving the wrong way toward oncoming traffic. In the video captured from the police officer’s dash cam, Anderson can be heard giggling and her speech slurred as she tells the officer that she wasn’t drinking. “I just feel really sick,” she said.
The officer instructed Anderson to drive to the parking lot across the street to gather herself. It was not apparent whether the officer conducted any field sobriety tests or had Anderson take the breathalyzer, which would have detected the alcohol but probably not the cocaine or the amphetamines in her system. Unless the newest breathalyzer on the market was in use.
In a study published in the Journal of Breath Research, researchers tested apparatus designed to detect drugs on a person’s breath. The device, designed in Sweden, can detect 12 different controlled substances, such as methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, morphine, and some marijuana components. While not 100% accurate, it can supplement the current blood and urine samplings used by law enforcement to detect blood alcohol levels. Additionally, it may not detect THC, the poison in marijuana.
Whether or not it would be helpful for officers to have a breathalyzer test that can show more than just alcohol is not enough to stem the occurrences of lethal cocktails like the one contributing to Toni Anderson’s death. Drivers should be aware that mixing drugs with alcohol can be fatal, producing synergistic effects that multiplies the individual effect of each drug by four. For example, one beer plus one barbiturate could equal the same effect as four beers. The combination of drugs with alcohol has been the cause of many hospitalizations – and accidental deaths, as was the case for Toni Anderson.
A report released in April, 2017 from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) in response to legislatures, law enforcement, and highway safety offices being urged to about drug-impaired driving. It includes information obtained by GHSA from a survey of state highway safety offices. According to the report, drug-impaired driving is more complex than alcohol-impaired driving for many reasons:
Hundreds of different drugs can impair drivers. Some drugs that can impair driving are illegal to use, some are legal to use under certain conditions, and some are freely available over-the-counter.
For many drugs, the relation between a drug’s presence in the body, its effect on driving, and its effects on crash risk are complex, not understood well, and vary from driver to driver. Additionally, some drugs – especially cannabis – attach to the fatty tissues of the body and therefore cannot be measured as blood concentration levels as is done with alcohol.
Data on drug presence in crash-involved drivers are incomplete in most jurisdictions, inconsistent from state to state, and sometimes inconsistent across jurisdictions within states. Additionally, laws regarding driving while under the influence of drugs (DUID) vary across the states.
It is more difficult for law enforcement to detect drug impairment at the roadside than alcohol impairment. There are no BAC charts or understanding the stages for becoming impaired while using some drugs such as cannabis as there are for alcohol.
Data on drug presence in crash-involved drivers are incomplete in most jurisdictions, inconsistent from state to state, and sometimes inconsistent across jurisdictions within states. While laws regarding driving while under the influence of drugs (DUID) vary across the states, it is still more difficult to prosecute and convict a driver for DUID than for alcohol-impaired driving (DUI/DWI/OWI).
Drug-impaired driving is an increasingly critical issue for states and state highway safety offices. As of April 2017, marijuana may be used for medical purposes in 29 states and the District of Columbia, although these states are still struggling with legislating its use, cultivation, and sale. While these states have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, it is still a federal crime and cannot be transported across state lines. Furthermore, in every state it is still a crime to drive impaired under the influence of drugs or alcohol, including marijuana. In 2015, the most recent year for which data are available, the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) reported that drugs were present in 43% of the fatally-injured drivers with a known test result, more frequently than alcohol was present. NHTSA’s 2013–2014 roadside survey found drugs in 22% of all drivers both on weekend nights and on weekday days. In particular, marijuana use was cited as increasing.
Congress identified drug-impaired driving as a priority in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015. This multi-year highway bill directed NHTSA to develop education campaigns to increase public awareness about the dangers associated with drugged driving. The Act also required the Department of Transportation to study the relationship between marijuana use and driving impairment and to identify effective methods to detect marijuana-impaired drivers.
Legislatures, law enforcement, and highway safety offices in many states are urged to “do something” about drug-impaired driving, but what to do is far from clear. While the report does not attempt to be a complete review of the extensive information available on drugs and driving, it does provide references to research and position papers, especially papers that summarize the research on drugs and driving that have appeared in the last 20 years.
Watch the CNN video, “Your Brain on Weed” for an insight on marijuana and TCH, the chemical that gets you high.
Emergency personnel are usually the first on the scene of a collision involving drunk and drugged drivers. Their role is to help save lives if possible or mitigate the trauma experienced by survivors when the crash scene results in death. Memories of the crash site details are seared into their minds, just as vivid as the pictures EMTs take for the record – a head piercing the windshield, a body thrown like a projectile several feet from the car because the victim wasn’t wearing a seat belt, severed limbs, blood everywhere… They suffer the same trauma as the horrors they see at a DUI crash site. These experiences should be enough to dramatically instill EMT personnel with the dangerous consequences of driving impaired. Samantha Lopez must have been absent from these real-life lessons. The EMT firefighter from Kissimmee, Florida, was pulled over twice in two months for a DUI, the second time with a 3-year old in the back seat.
The arresting officer identified the give-aways of drunk driving – the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, glassy eyes and flushed skin, with difficulty maintaining balance. Lopez was arrested on a DUI charge with a blood-alcohol level of 0.182, more than twice the legal limit in Florida.
Lopez shouldn’t have been driving, as she had been arrested on a DUI charge less than two months prior to this recent arrest. Records show that Lopez was accused of rear-ending another vehicle while driving with a 0.204 BAC. In the time between her first and second arrests, Lopez was allowed to continue to perform her duties as a firefighter/EMT at the Kissimmee Fire Department.
Hopefully, this latest arrest will take Samantha Lopez off the job and off the road. It is reported that her 3-year old was entrusted to Lopez’ ex-husband.
Watch the video of Lopez failing the field sobriety test here.
…..”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.
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.
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.
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.
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.