Man Gets DUI on California Freeway – On a Horse

 

California-dui-on-a-horseRecently the California Highway Patrol made one of the thousands of DUI arrests it makes each year. What was different was that the driver was on a horse at the time.

A man rode his horse onto State Route 91 in Long Beach. Upon his fairly immediate arrest  he was tested and found to be  more than twice over the legal .08 limit, with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.21.

The charge was riding a horse under the influence: RHUI?

In California, you are technically allowed to ride an animal on a highway, believe it or not. California Motor Vehicle Code 21050 says:

Every person riding or driving an animal upon a highway has all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle.

Those duties include not obstructing traffic. Since any horse will block traffic on a fast-moving Los Angeles freeway, it’s safe to say that horses are unwelcome. Apart from that, riders must obey the rules of the road, which include signaling turns and stops, obeying signs, and of course – not being drunk. The driver in this case was in clear violation.

Hence the CHP’s tweet:

And that is as it should be. A drunk horse rider is a danger to himself and others in most circumstances, and even more on State Route 91. For that reason, the rider will face some sort of DUI-related charges.

Note: Los Angeles is one of four California counties which requires ignition interlocks – devices preventing a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking – after a DUI.

Anyone know how to put an ignition interlock on a horse?

Drive High? Yes, You Can Be Arrested For California Drunk Driving

California drunk driving It’s been a big month in California: on January 1st, marijuana became legal for recreational use. While people who enjoy using cannabis are celebrating the legalization, anti-drunk driving advocates are concerned that people don’t understand California drunk driving laws. They’d like to remind everyone that if you drive high, you’ll get a DUI.

DUI is defined as driving under the influence, and that includes driving under the influence of alcohol, opiates, and yes, marijuana. As soon as the calendar flipped over to January 1st, the state switched from preparing for legalization to preparing for a flood of high drivers to hit the roads.

To fight back against drugged driving the state has taken a few immediate steps.

Freeway signs broadcast an anti-drugged driving message

If you’re driving on the freeways in California you may have seen new messages broadcasting across the Amber Alert display signs. Certain areas have the message, “Drive high, get a DUI,” scrolling on repeat so drivers are reminded that it might be legal to smoke marijuana, but it’s not legal to drive after you do.

They’re on social media

Law enforcement like the LA County Sheriff’s office are online and sharing a hashtag via sites like Facebook and Twitter. The tag #DUIDoesntJustMeanBooze has been shared and retweeted widely, and they’d like drivers to know that any drug, including over the counter medications and prescribed medications, can impaired your driving skills.

California was the sixth state to legalize marijuana. Although the process of legalization may have been relatively easy, it’s not easy to curtail those people who don’t think that driving high is as big of a deal as driving under the influence of alcohol.

Keep in mind throughout this year and beyond that driving high is just as dangerous as driving drunk, and you can be charged with California drunk driving if you are drunk or high. If you’re planning on using marijuana or you’ve taken prescription drugs, you shouldn’t drive at all.

The Kansas House Passes Some Schizoid Drinking Bills

jekyll-and-hyde-kansas-alcohol-lawsThe Kansas House of Representatives recently passed two bills regarding alcohol. The bills might not be designed to achieve opposite goals, but that’s effectively what they’re doing.

One bill would increase penalties for habitual drunk drivers who are judged guilty of voluntary manslaughter.

The bill was passed in the wake of a tragic crash in which a 24-year-old woman, Caitlin Vogel, was killed by a repeat drunk driver who had several prior offenses. The offender, James McAllister, was sentenced to less than 10 years in prison, a fate which enraged Vogel’s family and friends. The new bill is an attempt to fix what was regarded as too-soft treatment of persistent drunk drivers who harm or kill.

The other law has the no-doubt unintended effect of increasing drunk driving. It allows restaurants to begin serving alcohol at 6 a.m. rather than 9, as is currently allowed. The reasoning is that Kansas is losing breakfast and brunch business to surrounding states.

A Jekyll-and-Hyde View of Drunk Driving

Taken together, the bills reflect a strange split-personality view of drunk driving. On the one hand, the practice of serving alcohol in restaurants at 6 a.m. does not seem to suggest an increase in drunk driving to the Kansas legislators who voted for that bill. Experts would disagree. A recent report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine states unequivocally that “state and local governments should take appropriate steps to limit or reduce alcohol availability, including … the days and hours of alcohol sales.”  This is one of several strategies for reducing drunk driving in the US. Others include more taxes on alcohol, ignition interlocks, and a lower blood alcohol concentration limit.

On the other hand, those who actually drink and drive should be severely punished – but the bill only addresses those who are already repeat offenders and who do serious harm. This is the extreme end of the spectrum. There’s a good case for strong punishments for those who kill while driving drunk, but mainly to take such dangerous offenders off the roads. It’s doubtful that other drivers will learn of the extreme punishment of a DUI killer and decide not to have that extra beer before getting behind the wheel. In other words, the DUI manslaughter bill will probably not reduce the number of drunk drivers on the road by more than one.

Meanwhile, selling alcohol at 6 a.m. might put a few more on the road.

Kansas legislators need to read the reports by the National Academies, MADD, the NTSB, NHTSA, and other safety organizations. All of them recommend a well-administered all-offender ignition interlock program, more restricted alcohol sales, and prevention wherever possible. Boosting liquor sales and then coming down hard on DUI killers isn’t a strategy that works.

When Will The US Finally End Drunk Driving?

end drunk driving Drunk driving has been a problem for as long as cars have been on the road, but no one managed to get a handle on it until the 1980s. That’s when Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) stepped in and brought an about face to the growing issue of drunk driving in the United States. Since that time lawmakers, law enforcement, anti-drunk driving groups, and health experts have all been pushing to end drunk driving for good.

One set of experts just released a report and recommendations that they feel will eventually end drunk driving in the United States. Put out by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the report is called, “Getting to Zero Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities.”

The three main recommendations of this report including lowering the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC), eliminating off-site alcohol sales, and passing sweeping ignition interlock reform.

Lowering the BAC in the United States

The report recommends that all states should drop their legal BAC to .05. This isn’t a new idea, because the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has been asking states to lower the BAC for several years.

Utah was the first state in the US who listened to this advice, and they’ve already stepped up and become the first to officially lower their legal BAC to .05. The change isn’t due to take place until December 30th, 2018, and there has been opposition to what some see as a drastic change.

But the reasoning behind dropping the legal BAC is solid: because alcohol affects everyone differently, one person may only need one or two drinks to be legally impaired. Any amount of alcohol has the power to affect your driving skills, and lowering the BAC would mean people may really think before they drink and drive.

Removing alcohol sales from gas stations

It’s easy to buy alcohol when it’s as available as gas for your car, and when you put alcohol in a gas station, it makes it all too tempting to drink it while you’re driving. The report stated that removing alcohol from gas stations and drive-through stores would make it less likely people would drink and drive.

Ignition interlocks in all states

All states have some sort of ignition interlock law, but not all states require ignition interlocks for all offenders. The report recommends that all offenders, even first-time offenders who are arrested with a .08 BAC, are required to use the device to prevent them from driving drunk again.

There’s hope in the fact that drunk driving in the United States has decreased since the 1980s. It’s just disheartening that there’s still thousands upon thousands of people who make the choice to drive drunk every year considering the public education, strict laws, and technology like ignition interlocks to stop them. If the recommendations from this report are taken seriously and put into place by lawmakers in the USA, this could be the first glimmer of hope that they can actually end drunk driving sooner than later.

How Not to Pass a Sobriety Test: Cartwheels and Chardonnay

It happened in Florida, as many such things do: a man was found passed out at a McDonald’s drive-thru after placing an order. The relationship between drunk driving and fast-food drive-thru windows is a long and sorry one, a phenomenon which has yet to be explored.

When the police arrived, the driver, one Christopher Bidzinski, was eating his food. He stepped out of the car, stumbled, and told the cops that he was unlikely to pass a sobriety test. He was correct.

For some reason, Bidzinski decided to do a cartwheel during the procedure. The result did not help his case, especially since it was recorded on video:

The suspect admitted to drinking Chardonnay (Chardonnay, seriously?) and asked to be taken to jail.

If you’re thinking that this is the first cartwheel during a sobriety test to be captured on video, you should see this clip from Albuquerque, taken last year in a similar situation:

It’s hard to say what makes a DUI suspect want to do a cartwheel during a a sobriety test, but that’s alcohol for you. Its capacity for helping people make poor decisions is almost limitless. But that’s why drinking and driving is illegal: on the road, poor decisions and lack of coordination lead to disaster. At the roadside it’s just another dumb DUI story.

No doubt when you think about this video you’ll think about the pratfall. But had the police not stopped the driver when they did, things might have ended differently. A wrong turn in a car at night can be a serious thing indeed. We have the crash statistics to prove it.

How to Skip the Valentine’s Day DUI Arrest This Year

valentines-day-duiAre you planning an evening for two this Valentine’s Day? Plenty of people are, and most of them have a good idea of how they’d like the evening to end up. That scene does not include a jail cell.

Nevertheless, a Valentine’s Day DUI arrest is more common than you’d think – it’s a night of celebration, and wine (and often champagne) are uncorked to slow down the moment and set the mood. But the planning that goes into a romantic evening often doesn’t include a safe ride home.

Here are some ways you can plan a night that ends the way you want it to – without fingerprinting, jail, bail, fines, and court dates:

  • Choose a restaurant within walking distance. If the weather is going to cooperate, make a romantic hand-in-hand walk part of the evening.
  • Dine in. It doesn’t sound romantic, but it can be. Where did you put those candles anyway?
  • Get dropped off. If you don’t drive to the restaurant, you can’t drive back. It’s all in the planning.
  • Skip the wine. It sounds sacrilegious, but there’s no law saying that you have to drink just because it’s Valentine’s Day. Have an extra-decadent dessert instead, and finish the night with a clear head.

The idea, after all, is to wake up the next day more in love than you were the night before. That’s hard to do when one of you is in jail, or facing large fines and a police record. So do some planning this Valentine’s Day, and a jail door will never come between you.

Iowa Drunk Driving Law Requires Cameras On All Ignition Interlocks

Iowa drunk driving If you’ve seen a photo captured by an ignition interlock device, it’s usually because someone was stealing a car and they were captured by the on-board camera. Many states and jurisdictions currently require ignition interlocks to be equipped with cameras.

But not every state has that requirement, and Iowa is currently one of the few holdouts for on-board cameras. That may soon change. A new rule has been proposed as an addition to Iowa drunk driving law which would require cameras in all ignition interlock devices. It won’t stop someone from blowing to start a vehicle with a drunk driver behind the wheel, but it will capture a photo of them if they do.

Why should Iowa drunk driving laws include cameras on ignition interlocks?

It tightens up ignition interlock monitoring

When a photo shows a convicted drunk driver blowing into an ignition interlock, the monitoring company will have access to that image and they’ll know whether or not someone else was blowing into the device to start the car. If there’s an issue with the offender asking someone else to start the car, the monitoring company can notify whomever is in charge of that offender’s case.

It prevents a drunk driver from driving

Some drunk drivers will ask a sober friend to blow to start their vehicle, but they don’t hand over the keys and let them drive. When they have a car that starts, that convicted offender is free to drive while under the influence, and it’s even more troubling when that sober friend performs a rolling retest so they can drink while driving.

With an on-board ignition interlock camera, every time an offender or someone else blows, an image is captured. That might not stop the offender at the time, but according to Iowa drunk driving law, it’s a form of tampering with the interlock and the offender could lose their privilege to drive.

Iowa drunk driving law should change for the better by July of 2018, and if that planned change does happen, the roads will be much safer in the state.

One Month, One County, Hundreds Of Texas Drunk Driving Arrests

Texas drunk driving If you’ve followed Texas drunk driving laws over the past few years, you know that the state has really tried to address the growing problem of drunk drivers. They’ve struggled with losing ride sharing services in a major city, added ignition interlocks for all offenders, and attempted mass DWI checkpoints over the busy holiday season to arrest anyone who drives while intoxicated.

The efforts put forth by lawmakers and police officers appear to be working overall, but one county in Texas is still proving to be a problem. Montgomery County logged more Texas drunk driving arrests during the 2017 holiday season than they did in the last two years.

The holiday period, from November 22nd until New Year’s Day, saw 322 people arrested for DWI. The year before they only saw 233, and the year before that they saw 117.

Why would a county see such a significant increase over a three-year period? For Montgomery County, it’s not that surprising. This county has been at the top of the list for Texas drunk driving arrests for several years, and DWI is the most popular offense in the area. According to one article, they generally log between 2,000 and 2,500 DWI cases every year. Police also believe that country roads play a factor. They’ve said that 74% of Montgomery County DWI crashes have happened in isolated or rural areas.

No matter what the reason, there’s one sure way to stop a drunk driving offender from continuing to drive after he or she is convicted of DWI. An ignition interlock—a device that requires an offender to blow an alcohol-free breath sample into it before the car will start, is required for all first-time offenders in every county in the state of Texas.

If Texas drunk driving offenders install them as ordered, it stands to reason that trouble spots like Montgomery County should see a significant decrease in their drunk driving statistics. Now that they’ve got so many DWI offenders on the books, Montgomery County should focus on ignition interlocks to prevent them from driving drunk again.

Super Bowl Plans Include Putting The Brakes On Minnesota Drunk Drivers

Minnesota drunk driversSuper Bowl 52 is right around the corner, and while you’re worrying about whether or not your planned feast will be enough food for your sport-hungry friends,  you should also take a few minutes to consider what’s on the horizon for Minnesota drunk drivers.

Super Bowl 52 will be held in Twin Cities, and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) is expecting a huge surge of Minnesota drunk drivers to hit the streets. Just like your favourite team will be coming up with a game plan, so is DPS-OTS. They’ve got a good reason to do so.

According to data released from DPS-OTS, police arrested 2.656 Minnesota drunk drivers during the busy holiday season of 2017. That number is up from the 2,407 who were arrested during the same holiday period in 2016. Given that Super Bowl weekend is one of the busiest drunk driving weekends on the year, both police and DPS-OTS are concerned that Minnesota residents may make the wrong choice and get behind the wheel drunk.

Part of the DPS-OTS game plan is to get residents to commit to always seeking a sober ride home. They’re running a commercial in the state that’s spreading awareness of how dangerous it is to drive drunk, and along with that commercial, they’d also like to remind residents to make your plans now for Super Bowl 52.

If you schedule ahead for an Uber ride or ask a friend to remain sober that day, and you’ll never need to worry about what you might decide to do when you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The most stressful part of Super Bowl should be that your nacho dip ran out prematurely. You don’t want to worry that you’ll drive drunk, get arrested, and spend half time in a jail cell, so follow the advice of DPS-OTS and stay safe this Super Bowl.

Minnesota Drunk Driving Offenders Ended 2017 With A Bang

Minnesota drunk drivingDrunk driving arrests and crashes are often part of the daily news, and sometimes those stories are labeled ‘crazy’ or ‘dumb’ by the people who cover them. One recent story on local news site covered Minnesota drunk driving arrests, and according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the following arrests are as dumb as it gets.

Fairmont, Minnesota

A Minnesota drunk driver was arrested for DWI on Christmas Eve after she was found driving on the wrong side of the road. Just a week later, on New Year’s Eve, she was arrested for drunk driving again.

Mankato, Minnesota

Friends shouldn’t let friends drive drunk, but after one man was arrested for DWI, his passenger was arrested for DWI just hours later while driving the exact same car.

St.Cloud, Minnesota

You’d think if you were about to appear in front of a judge for a DWI arrest, you’d make it a point to be clean and sober. That wasn’t the case for one Minnesota drunk driving offender. He was arrested after he refused the breathalyzer. The next day, as he was about to appear in court, a breath test was taken and he had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .24. That’s triple the legal limit of .08, and it’s baffling as to why he decided that was the condition he wanted to be in when he appeared in front of the judge.

It sounds like Minnesota police have their hands full, especially during the holidays. When the Department of Public Safety shared these reports they also revealed that the number of Minnesota drunk driving arrests were up this year over the last. That could be because the state doesn’t require ignition interlocks for all offenders.

An ignition interlock—a device that requires a convicted drunk driver to blow an alcohol-free breath sample before the engine will turn over, is only required in Minnesota for repeat offenders and first offenders with a BAC over .15.  Not having a law to stop first offenders from becoming repeat offenders is a real problem, especially in a state where drunk drivers clog the roadways.

Let’s hope this is the year Minnesota passes an all offender law. There’s a real need to curb drunk driving rates in this state, and when you require interlocks for all offenders, you can put a stop to many of these crazy drunk driving stories.

800-499-0994