blood alcohol concentration - BAC, blood alcohol levels - BAL, Car insurance, Crashes and Collisions, Drunk Driving, DUI/DWI/OWI/OWAI, DUID, DWAI, Holiday Travel, Victims of DUI

Happy Birthday America – Avoiding a DUI

Happy_4th.jpg

Are you prepared for the biggest birthday bash of the entire year? Fourth of July holiday means picnics and beach parties where drinks are readily available – so know your limit and avoid going over the point where you are impaired to drive.

Lots of road trips are planned over the Independence Day holiday – kids are out of school, the weather is great, and the road conditions are optimal. According to AAA, a record-breaking 107 Million Americans to Celebrate Holidays Away From Home

This includes 97.4 million Americans traveling by automobile – so be prepared to experience travel times during the holidays as much as three times longer than the normal trip.

Last year, Americans spent an estimated $1 billion on beer to celebrate Independence Day, and beer will be served to many of the 64% of Americans of legal drinking age who are planning to attend a cookout of barbecue this weekend. According to WalletHub, a growing portion of that is craft beer, which continues to make impressive gains despite its higher cost.  More beer is sold on Uncle Sam’s birthday than on any other holiday,  including New Year’s Eve.

This beehive of activity means more drunk drivers on the road. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that the Fourth of July is the worst day of the year for fatal car crashes – there are nearly 200 traffic deaths over the usual 4-day holiday across the country.

The costs of a DUI

Besides the criminal charges and possible victim impact an impaired driver might face, there are other costs that cannot be overlooked, starting with insurance.  A DUI can triple your car insurance premium for as long as five years. That extra money adds up fast, into the thousands of dollars. Once you have a DUI on your record, your car insurance company considers you a high-risk driver and will charge you a higher rate to offset the added risk.

Let’s add up the average costs associated with a first time DUI Arrest, which averages over $6000, not included lost wages:
– Court fines? Varies from state to state, but an offender can expect fines starting from an average $400 for a first DUI to $5,000-$8,000 for a third DUI
– Attorney – $1000+ for public defenders, much more for a privately-hired attorney.
– Alcohol and Drug Education – Again, these charges vary from state to state, but you’ll probably not find a DUI course for under $100, to a high of $360 for a Level 1 DUi course
– Victim Impact Panel – $50 average
– Drivers License reinstatement fee at the DMV – $100-$250
– Victim Compensation Civil Penalty – Depends on the jurisdiction
– SR-22 Certificate of Insurance – $150 – $250 for three years on top of increased insurance premiums averaging $800 per year
– A BAL of .18 at the time of arrest results in a mandatory alcohol evaluation that costs approximately $200Of course, the numbers vary by state and circumstance, but after you add in fines, court costs, and DMV fees, the average DUI costs between $5,000 and $25,000. Compound all that needless expense with the inherent dangers of drinking and driving — along with the fact that you could lose your life, take someone else’s, or wind up spending time in jail — and the reasons for staying smart and safe this weekend become more than evident.

Is that drink or drug before driving really worth it?

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.

 

 

Crowdsourcing, Holiday Travel, Road Hazards, Technology, Traffic Congestion

Technology and crowdsourcing alleviate traffic headaches

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Navigation devices + human collaboration + real-time information = the formula for helping drivers share relevant and timely commute-related information

Are you looking for the cheapest gas in town? Need to reroute your travel because of heavy construction or other road hazards? Where can you recharge your electric car? Are there car-sharing or bike-sharing opportunities in your neighborhood? Technology and social networking enable commuters to share relevant and timely commute-related information and answer these perplexing questions with a swipe of a button.

Technology also plays an important role in the smart cities movement toward reducing vehicle emissions, using services and acting in new intelligent ways in transportation and communications to reduce travel time of vehicles and prevents traffic jams. OpenStreetMap is a European project that adds traffic lights, sensors, routes and vehicle flows emphasizing local knowledge.

 

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Smart Mobility in Cities with Evolutionary Algorithms Source: Daniel Stolfi, University of Malaga (Spain)

The “Red Swarm – Smart Mobility in Cities” study presents an approach to regulating traffic by using an on-line system controlled by an Evolutionary Algorithm. The study proposes to use computational spots with WiFi connectivity located at traffic lights (the Red Swarm), which are used to suggest alternative individual routes to vehicles.

 

Back in the U.S., researchers are studying the impact looking for a parking spot has on greenhouse gas emissions and fuel usage. A study by Donald Shoup, Distinguished Professor of  Urban Planning at UCLA, reported that drivers looking for parking spaces rack up more mileage each year than a person normally needs for a long-distance trip. According to the study, drivers in search of a parking spot around the UCLA (California) campus clocked around 950,000 travel miles, 730 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, and 47,000 gallons of gas. The numbers are extraordinary, and particularly when you extrapolate out to consider the impact in a big city. The author asserts that if each parking space had a sensor, to provide drivers with a virtual picture of all the available spaces, emissions would be reduced, congestion would be eased as drivers could go straight to the free spots, and local authorities would have real-time data to help them utilize space better in the future.

In 2012, the New Cities Foundation released the results of its study,  “Connected Commuting”, to help cities better understand how social networking among commuters can enhance the overall commuting experience and improve traffic management. The study was conducted in the city of San Jose, California, in partnership with Ericsson, the City of San Jose’s Department of Transportation and the University of California’s Mobile Millennium team from the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) utilizing two of the most popular commuter smartphone applications, Waze and Roadify.   Connected Commuting attempted to determine how real-time information sharing between commuters could influence the development of new technologies, policies and other innovations that improve commuting in metropolitan areas throughout the world.

The daily commute is one of the most painful parts of urban life. This is true in most cities around the world, rich and poor, old and new. Connected Community 

Urban traffic and commuting difficulties are problems that plague not only the individual driver, but adversely affect an entire country’s infrastructure. The study found that more than $100 billion is lost in the U.S. due to wasted fuel, carbon emissions and lost opportunity costs each year. It also reported that delays in the cost commuters an average of 34 hours a year.  That’s time you don’t have to spend in traffic.

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, Holiday Travel, Uncategorized

Apps to keep drunk drivers off the road

 

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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.

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

Happy birthday America – getting ready to celebrate

 

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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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