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.

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.

Will This Florida Drunk Driving Crash Prompt New Interlock Laws?

Florida drunk driving It’s inevitable that police officers will be hurt or killed in the line of duty, and it’s especially sad when they are attempting to rescue an innocent person from crash site. Unfortunately, it’s all too common for police officers to be killed or injured while helping others, and one Florida drunk driving crash has claimed another victim.

It happened in Miami-Dade County in the early hours. A Florida Highway Patrol trooper was at the scene of a crash. While he was standing at the scene another car hit one of the crashed cars and the impact sent the other crashed car straight into the officer.

The officer was hit and landed a distance away from the cars. He was left with serious injuries. The driver who caused the second crash was given a breathalyzer test and was found to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .201. That’s almost triple the legal limit of .08.  After an investigation of the crash police arrested him on a Florida drunk driving charge and DUI causing damage.

Thankfully the officer will recover from his injuries, but other police officers haven’t been as lucky. Officer Noah Leotta of Maryland was working a DUI check stop when a car crashed into him. The impact ended his life. Leotta’s death was one of the reasons why Maryland was spurred to pass an all offender ignition interlock law.

An ignition interlock device is a device that requires all drunk driving offenders, including first time offenders with a BAC of .08 or higher, to blow an alcohol-free sample before they can start the car. It’s been proven that all offender ignition interlock laws save lives and prevent thousands of people from driving after they attempt to start their cars.

Could this crash mean that Florida will begin a serious effort to pass such a law in the sunshine state? Florida has let an all offender ignition interlock law die before it came to a final vote on more than one occasion, but all it takes is one serious drunk driving case to motivate lawmakers to get behind a new bill. Will this be the case for Florida?

Parenting Fail: Mom Charged With DWI With Child In Back Seat

family in carNo one should ever drink and drive, but if you’re determined to do so, the least you can do is leave your children at home. This is a message that most parents should easily understand, but you’d be amazed at how many decide that getting charged with DWI is not a big deal with or without their kids along. One Santa Fe, New Mexico mother was just charged with DWI for a second time after she crashed her van. That’s bad enough, but she had a young child along with her too.

Police arrived on the scene of a crash after someone reported a driver who drove into a parking lot barrier at a MacDonald’s restaurant. When they arrived they found a woman in her underwear lying across the seats and there was blood splattered everywhere. The van windows were rolled down and it was below freezing, and an open container of alcohol lay on the floor. There was also a child strapped into a car seat in the back.

That paints a pretty grisly image, so it’s hard to understand why this offender wasn’t happy for the help when police showed up. When paramedics cleaned her up she yelled at police officers, and they had to obtain a warrant to do a blood draw. She was arrested, charged with DWI, and also received a third-degree felony count of child abuse. Her child has been placed with relatives, and she’s going to face the consequences of her second DWI arrest.

In New Mexico that means stiff penalties. She could spend up to one year in jail, pay up to $1,000 in fines, and attend an alcohol evaluation. She’ll also lose her driver’s license for two years, and she’ll be required to drive with an ignition interlock for two years.

The penalties for her DWI in New Mexico might be hard for her to deal with, but what’s much harder to process is that she put a child in grave danger. It’s a good lesson for any parent who has wondered whether or not to drink and drive the kids home. Putting your child in the car with you after you’ve been drinking is never a good idea.

Police Officer Saved Her. Then He Arrested Her For Florida Drunk Driving

Florida drunk driving Florida is one of those states where, despite the best efforts, police still struggle with drunk drivers. Florida drunk driving is so bad that police have seen DUI golf cart crashes leading to death, parents getting called in for DUI by their kids, and naked drunk drivers who clearly couldn’t stand the heat and humidity.

But one recent Florida drunk driving arrest may just top them all, and that’s because a police officer had to move quickly between saving a life and arresting that very same person for drunk driving.

Thanks to video capture on a dashcam, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper can be seen approaching a vehicle in Naples, Florida late one night. The car had driven onto the shoulder of a busy interstate, and you can hear him asking the driver to wake up through the glass of the window.

When she wouldn’t wake up the officer broke the window and checked her pulse. Finding her lifeless, he pulled her from the car and began to administer CPR until she was breathing again. She was sent to the hospital via ambulance, and when they took her blood alcohol content (BAC) they found she was at .039.

With a BAC that high, she was at the lethal level for alcohol poisoning. That’s most likely why she was unresponsive and her heart stopped, and she’s extremely fortunate someone found her in that condition and brought her back to life. Once she’d recovered the police officer handed her charges for Florida drunk driving.

It just goes to show that some drunk drivers don’t have a clue how drunk they are before they drive a car. Not everyone in that condition would pull over on the side of the road before they lost consciousness, and although she’ll now face the fines, penalties, and driver’s license suspension associated with a Florida drunk driving charge, it is thanks to that arrest that she’s alive today.

How To Turn A California DUI Into A Murder Charge

california dui What’s the worst that could happen if you’re a drunk driver in California? You might think it’s the personal cost of a California DUI conviction, but that charge is small potatoes compared to what a man in Sacramento is currently facing.

Thanks to his decision to drink and drive, he’s facing four counts of murder. Fred Lowe, a resident of Sacramento, crashed his car into another car while heading down the Interstate. The other car lost control and flipped over into lanes with oncoming traffic.

Inside that vehicle were five family members who were heading home from a baseball tournament. Four of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene, including two teen boys. One lived, and he was treated for serious injuries.

Mr.Lowe, the drunk driver, left the scene before finding out if anyone was injured. Police caught up with him a short time later and arrested him on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter.

Unfortunately for Mr.Lowe, this wasn’t his first time behind the wheel drunk. He had a previous charge of California DUI on his record, and he was also arrested at another time for a robbery. Because of that record, the fact that he fled the scene, and how he had a high blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the crash, the judge decided there was enough to charge this driver with second degree murder.

Now, all because he made the decision to drive drunk, this man is responsible for one of the worst drunk driving crashes the area has ever seen. A family has lost four of its members, and this driver is facing four murder charges in the state of California.

To answer the question, what’s the worst that could happen if you put your keys in the ignition after drinking? You could kill someone, and you might be charged with murder. Just like Mr.Lowe must realize, alcohol and driving don’t mix, so stay safe and don’t drink and drive.

 

California Crash Shows Why License Suspensions Don’t Work

driver's license suspensionThere’s a reason why a driver’s license suspension won’t work for all drunk drivers. When you suspend someone’s license, you are relying on that person to abide by that suspension. The problem with some convicted drunk drivers? They don’t take that suspension seriously, and they just continue to drink and drive despite the restriction on their license.

But there’s a reason why drunk drivers have their driver’s license suspended, and that’s because if they drink and drive once, they’re more likely to drink and drive over and over again. When they do that, the inevitable happens: a drunk driving crash, and that’s when innocent people die.

One recent crash in California is the perfect example of this. A mother was bending over beside her parked car to remove her daughter from the back seat. A drunk driver struck six parked cars nearby and crashed into the mother and daughter, throwing them over 30 feet down the road. The mother was killed instantly, and the daughter is in critical condition in the hospital.

This drunk driver shouldn’t have been driving at all. He had already pleaded no contest to a DUI conviction at the end of August, and his driver’s license was suspended before that because he failed to appear in court.

It’s clear from a crash like this one that a driver’s license suspension doesn’t work, and that’s because there’s nothing preventing that driver from putting the keys in the ignition and starting the car. What will stop these drunk drivers in California? California’s new ignition interlock law, requiring all offenders in all counties to install an interlock device in any vehicle they drive, will be in place in 2019.

The new law can’t turn back the clock and change the outcome of this crash, but it can save the lives of thousands of others who could be killed because a drunk driver makes the choice to ignore a driver’s license suspension. These lifesaving devices are the only way of truly preventing someone who is intoxicated from starting the car, so the new law can’t come soon enough.

How Does A Sleeping Man Get Charged With A Connecticut DUI?

Connecticut DUINot everyone who’s about to be charged for a Connecticut DUI makes the decision to flee the scene, but one man in Manchester didn’t just flee, he took it one step further.

The man was driving with his car alarm sounding, and he caught the attention of the police when he was speeding through an intersection. The officer thought he might be driving a stolen car, and when he attempted to stop the vehicle the suspected drunk driver drove over some grass, hit a fence, and ran off.

When police approached the vehicle, no one was inside. They searched the area and found the driver, but he ran inside his home. Police located him again and found him, much to their surprise, hiding under the covers of his bed. When they asked him what he was doing, he said he was just sleeping.

Turns out, the “sleeping offender” was actually drunk. He ran away from police because he didn’t want to get caught driving drunk. Another surprising twist to the story? He had a ignition interlock in his vehicle, and the alarm the police heard blaring was going off because he failed to blow into the device when required to.

He failed field sobriety tests, refused to submit to a breathalyzer, and was charged with a Connecticut DUI. Considering he had an ignition interlock in his car, this probably wasn’t his first DUI either.

A repeat offender charged with a Connecticut DUI can spend up to six months in jail and pay up to $1,000 in fines. That offender will also be required to use an ignition interlock for three years. That would be extra time on  top of the time he was already required to use an interlock.

The moral of this story: when you’re being chased by police, no one is going to buy that you were just sleeping. And if you have an ignition interlock in your car, you fail to provide a breath sample, and your interlock alarm goes off, someone is definitely going to notice.

Here’s Why You Should Take Maryland Ignition Interlock Law Seriously

Maryland ignition interlock Maryland drunk driving offenders should take note: judges in your state take Maryland ignition interlock law very seriously, and you might want to think twice about violating the conditions of your ignition interlock program.

It’s a extreme example, but one that’s worth paying attention to. One Maryland woman killed two men in a drunk driving crash back in 2009, and she was sentenced to jail for her crime. She served four years and was released early with the condition she install and use an ignition interlock, she remain on probation, and she was not to drink alcohol.

Instead of sticking to the terms of her probation, she violated it by drinking alcohol. How did the judge know she did that? It was thanks to her ignition interlock. She blew into it and locked it 10 different times because she had alcohol on her breath.

In her defense, the woman claimed that it was Altoids that resulted in the ignition interlock failures. Fortunately, the judge didn’t buy that excuse. He called her a liar and sent her back to prison for 16 more years.

Clearly the Maryland ignition interlock law is working in the state. Also known as Noah’s Law, it was passed one year ago after Officer Noah Leotta’s family waged a long battle to bring it to Maryland. Noah’s Law requires that all drunk driving offenders — including first time offenders with a BAC of .08 or higher, use the device in any vehicle they drive.

If this offender would not have been required to install an ignition interlock as part of her probation, she could have drove drunk again and killed someone else in the process. Now she’ll be spending an additional 16 years in prison considering why she would make the choice to drive drunk again.

It might seem like it’s just you and your ignition interlock in the car and it won’t matter if you fail the breath test, but this case shows that violating your ignition interlock program is a serious offense. Nothing good can come of it if you do.

US Drunk Drivers Still Main Reason People Die On The Roads

US Drunk DriversThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) monitors all traffic crashes that happen on US highways. They need to see which dangerous driving behaviors are contributing the most to traffic-related deaths in the county, and this year they found, once again, that US drunk drivers are still the main reason why people are dying on the roads.

In their latest report NHTSA highlighted the different issues facing drivers on roads this past year.

Over 35,000 people died in crashes

Think fatal vehicle crashes don’t happen that often? Think again: 37,461 people died because of a vehicle crash in 2016, and that is the highest number of vehicle-related deaths since 2007.

Distracted driving deaths are down

There’s been a lot of publicity surrounding distracted driving crashes over the past year, but according to NHTSA, fatal crashes because of texting actually fell 2.2% over the past year.

US drunk drivers are still causing fatal crashes in record numbers

It’s not surprising that drunk driving remains the main cause of fatal vehicle crashes. Alcohol affects your motor skills, hand/eye coordination, and reflexes, and driving a vehicle that weighs several tons while  impaired is a recipe for disaster.

Besides US drunk drivers, other risky behaviors highlighted by NHTSA include speeding, not wearing seat belts, and the fact that people are driving more often than they have before.

Thankfully, there is one solid way to stop US drunk drivers before they cause a fatal crash. Ignition interlock devices will prevent convicted drunk drivers from driving drunk again, and the number of states adding all offender ignition interlock penalties to their drunk driving laws is growing every year.

Soon every convicted drunk driver may be required to use an ignition interlock, and if they do, NHTSA could finally start to see a significant drop in drunk driving deaths in every state.

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