Labor Day Fourth Deadliest Holiday for Drunk Driving

This post was originally published on this site

As summer winds down, Americans are looking forward to Labor Day—the last holiday of the season and last chance to wear white. But a wardrobe faux pas isn’t the only thing to worry about during the holiday weekend. With 298 average traffic fatalities a year, Labor Day may mark the end of summer, but it is also the fourth most dangerous weekend to be on the roads.

States with the Most Labor Day Drunk Driving Deaths

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 40% of traffic deaths during the 2015 Labor Day holiday weekend involved alcohol, with 23% involving drivers with a BAC of 0.15+. But some states are more dangerous than others when it comes to drunk driving fatalities.

With 12 drunk driving deaths, research from Finder shows California is the most dangerous state to be on the road during Labor Day weekend. Missouri follows close behind with 10 deaths and Texas in third at nine deaths. And with 67% of alcohol-involved Labor Day traffic fatalities occurring between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m., night time is the deadliest time to be on the road.

Celebrating Safely

Drunk driving puts everyone on the road at risk. Follow these tips to safely celebrate Labor Day and the end of summer:

  • Plan on commemorating summer’s end with an alcoholic drink or two? Don’t wait until after you start drinking to figure out how you will get home—plan your sober ride home ahead of time.
  • Whether it is a sober friend, ride-sharing service, or cab, make sure you know your options and set a backup plan in case your plans change.
  • Can’t find a safe way home? Check with friends or family to see if you can stay the night.

Visit this Summer Drinking and DUIs Resource Center to find more statistics on summer drunk driving and additional tips to celebrate the last holiday of summer safely.

The post Labor Day Fourth Deadliest Holiday for Drunk Driving appeared first on Sobering Up.

Friends, Frats, & Freedom: A Recipe for College Binge Drinking

This post was originally published on this site

College isn’t just eating pizza in dorm rooms, studying on the quad, and writing reports. Thanks to movies like Old School, Van Wilder, and Animal House, the word “college” is pretty much synonymous with “drinking.” But, college drinking extends past the occasional beer pong match and toga party.

According to SAMHSA’s 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 58% of full-time college students drank alcohol in the past month. And with about 20% of college students meeting the criteria for an alcohol use disorder, parties and drinking can be a dangerous hobby for undergrads, especially for freshmen.

College Freshmen Particularly At-Risk

Starting college is an exciting time for freshmen, but the stress of new environments, schedules, and a lack of friends to watch out for them puts them particularly at risk for dangerous drinking behaviors. As college freshmen exercise their newfound freedom and oftentimes little knowledge of the dangers of alcohol, they are susceptible to binge drinking a deadly amount, as is the case with a Texas Tech freshman who died of alcohol poisoning before his first day of classes.

In fact, alcohol is often a factor in freshman deaths, assaults, and injuries. Sometimes referred to as the “red zone,” the first two months are some of the most hazardous weeks for first-year students. But some colleges are beginning to recognize this dangerous adjustment period and have created awareness and training programs to educate students on safety precautions—many of which are required before classes begin.

College Binge Drinking Statistics

Early college drinking behaviors can have long-term impacts. Freshmen who develop unhealthy relationships with alcohol could put themselves at risk for their undergraduate career. Not only do underage drinkers account for more than 10% of the country’s alcohol consumption, but researchers estimate that 1,825 college students aged 18–24 die each year from alcohol-related injuries and car crashes.

Additionally, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) reports that over 150,000 college students will develop an alcohol-related health problem, and about 1.5% try to commit suicide due to drinking or drug use.

Over-consumption is still prevalent across campuses everywhere and college students still have some of the highest levels of binge drinking compared to other age groups. But college binge drinking rates are slowly declining. In fact, binge drinking rates have dropped steadily since 1991, and have even decreased by 21% over the past decade. So, while films featuring the stereotypical beer-guzzling frat boy probably won’t disappear anytime soon, binge drinking may someday become a thing of the past for college co-eds.

 

The post Friends, Frats, & Freedom: A Recipe for College Binge Drinking appeared first on Sobering Up.

In Best Known “Pot” State, Most Impaired Driving Still Linked to Alcohol

This post was originally published on this site

When Colorado became the first U.S. state to permit the sale of recreational marijuana in 2014, some expressed concerns that the state would see a huge spike in drug-impaired driving. Four years later, the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice reports that cannabis alone accounts for about 6% of DUIs, while more than 90% of impaired drivers are under the influence alcohol or a combination of drugs and alcohol.

The division’s July 2018 report, “Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and Alcohol, A Report Pursuant to House Bill 17-1315,” looks at Colorado’s 2016 DUI data—the most recent numbers available—to determine rates of alcohol- and drug-impaired driving. During that year the state reported 27,244 case filings with at least one DUI charge.

Drugged driving has become a pressing issue for many communities in recent years due to the rapid legalization of cannabis and the opioid crisis. While those concerns are well founded, the Colorado study highlights that drunk driving is still a significant danger on U.S. roadways.

Findings on Drugged and Drunk Driving

The report found key similarities between drugged and drunk driving and some important instances where they differ. Among the results:

  • Speeding charges were more likely to be associated when the suspect was only under the influence of alcohol compared to only under the influence of THC.
  • Nearly 38% of defendants stopped in 2016 had prior DUI convictions.
  • Almost three-quarters of DUI defendants were male, regardless of substance.
  • Alcohol and THC both metabolize quickly, and the data shows both BAC results and THC readings were higher the sooner a test was completed after a stop.
  • Contrary to common expectations, Colorado law enforcement obtained blood tests more quickly than breath tests. The median time between a traffic stop and breath test was 76 minutes, compared to 64 minutes for a blood draw.

More Data Needed On Driving While High

One key finding related to drugged-driving: the picture is very incomplete.

As of June 2018, 31 states and Washington D.C. allow medicinal marijuana use and nine states plus the District of Columbia allow recreational use. Even as more states legalize marijuana, law enforcement continues to face challenges with detecting and recording drugged driving.

Police and sheriff’s departments have used alcohol breath testers for decades. However, there is no reliable roadside chemical test to determine if a person is driving under the influence of cannabis. Officers may need to call in a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) to conduct a field sobriety test. In addition, an evidentiary test for drugs—often the most credited piece of evidence in a DUI case—requires a blood sample.

As many drugged driving suspects also have alcohol in their systems, jurisdictions often don’t test for drugs if the person has already failed an alcohol breath test. Drug tests can cost jurisdictions anywhere from $100 to $500 each, and “the additional time and cost required for further toxicology testing may not be considered worthwhile if the burden of proof for impairment is already being met by a BAC level.”

Finally, court systems don’t have a consistent way to record drug data for DUI cases. This combination of factors means that drug-impaired driving is likely unrepresented in the available data.

The Fight Against Impaired Driving

The study’s results don’t suggest that officials should be unconcerned about high drivers. Many jurisdictions report that while drunk driving still outpaces drugged driving, the rate of drivers under the influence of marijuana and opioids is clearly on the rise.

Drivers under the influence of alcohol are more likely to make other dangerous driving choices, including adding drugs to the mix, speeding, or driving distracted. And the study notes, “combining marijuana and alcohol increases impairment and motor vehicle crash risk more than each alone.” Ultimately, the data suggests that successful education and enforcement efforts need to focus on impaired driving as a whole. Drugged and drunk driving are closely linked and pose a serious danger on the roads.

The post In Best Known “Pot” State, Most Impaired Driving Still Linked to Alcohol appeared first on Sobering Up.

UK Using Technology to Crack Down on Drink-Driving and Alcohol-Involved Crimes

This post was originally published on this site

According to a recent bulletin from the Office for National Statistics, about 29.2 million adults in England drank alcohol in 2017, with 28.7% of men and 25.6% of women admitting to binge drinking on their heaviest drinking day. Not only are frequent visits to the pub commonplace in the UK, but an estimated 9,050 people in Great Britain were injured or killed when at least one driver was over the legal alcohol limit from 2006 – 2016.

But, new initiatives involving alcohol-sensing technologies are being offered around the UK to help curb drink-driving and mitigate alcohol-involved crimes.

Alcohol Monitoring Pilots are Promising

As areas around the UK are recognizing the impact of drink-driving and alcohol-involved crimes, pilot programs using various alcohol monitoring technologies are emerging across the country.

Interlock Device Programs

The Durham Police force, for example, is the first in the UK to pilot “alcohol interlocks,” which breath-tests drivers before their cars even start. If a driver’s breath test is over the legal alcohol limit, the device will immobilize the vehicle.

Over the last three years, the County of Durham has experienced about 285 road accidents linked to drink-driving; the alcohol-sensing device is fitted to vehicles of repeat drink-driving offenders on a voluntary basis or as part of their “behavior contract”.

Continuous Alcohol Monitoring Programs

In addition to drink-driving, the Office for National Statistics reports that more than half of violent crimes in the UK—including domestic violence and sexual offences—involve alcohol.

Another pilot, Blackburn with Darwen located in Northwest England, uses “sobriety tags” attached to the ankles of offenders of alcohol-involved crimes.

The SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring® (SCRAM CAM®) bracelet detects alcohol levels in the wearer’s sweat and alert authorities if the offender has breached their abstinence order. The sobriety tag tests for alcohol every 30 minutes, or about 48 times a day, making it impossible for a wearer to consume alcohol unnoticed.

Sobriety Tag Program Addresses Alcohol-Involved Offenses

In fact, 92% of people in the program remained sober while wearing the tag, demonstrating the promising effects of this innovative technology.

While the results of these pilot programs seem to be positive, will the UK begin to adopt these technologies to help alleviate alcohol-involved crimes and drink-driving?

The post UK Using Technology to Crack Down on Drink-Driving and Alcohol-Involved Crimes appeared first on Sobering Up.

UK Using Technology to Crack Down on Drunk Driving and Alcohol-Involved Crimes

This post was originally published on this site

According to a recent bulletin from the Office for National Statistics, about 29.2 million adults in England drank alcohol in 2017, with 28.7% of men and 25.6% of women admitting to binge drinking on their heaviest drinking day. Not only are frequent visits to the pub commonplace in the UK, but an estimated 9,050 people in Great Britain were injured or killed when at least one driver was over the legal alcohol limit from 2006 – 2016.

But, new initiatives involving alcohol-sensing technologies are being offered around the UK to help curb drunk driving and mitigate alcohol-involved crimes.

Alcohol Monitoring Pilots are Promising

As areas around the UK are recognizing the impact of drunk driving and alcohol-involved crimes, pilot programs using various alcohol monitoring technologies are emerging across the country.

Interlock Device Programs

The Durham Police force, for example, is the first in the UK to pilot “alcohol interlocks,” which breath-tests drivers before their cars even start. If a driver’s breath test is over the legal alcohol limit, the device will immobilize the vehicle.

Over the last three years, the County of Durham has experienced about 285 road accidents linked to drunk driving; the alcohol-sensing device is fitted to vehicles of repeat drunk driving offenders on a voluntary basis or as part of their “behavior contract”.

Continuous Alcohol Monitoring Programs

In addition to drunk driving, the Office for National Statistics reports that more than half of violent crimes in the UK—including domestic violence and sexual offences—involve alcohol.

Another pilot, Blackburn with Darwen located in Northwest England, uses “sobriety tags” attached to the ankles of offenders of alcohol-involved crimes.

The SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring® (SCRAM CAM®) bracelet detects alcohol levels in the wearer’s sweat and alert authorities if the offender has breached their abstinence order. The sobriety tag tests for alcohol every 30 minutes, or about 48 times a day, making it impossible for a wearer to consume alcohol unnoticed.

Sobriety Tag Program Addresses Alcohol-Involved Offenses

In fact, 92% of people in the program remained sober while wearing the tag, demonstrating the promising effects of this innovative technology.

While the results of these pilot programs seem to be positive, will the UK begin to adopt these technologies to help alleviate alcohol-involved crimes and drunk driving?

The post UK Using Technology to Crack Down on Drunk Driving and Alcohol-Involved Crimes appeared first on Sobering Up.

Need a Sober Ride Home? There’s An App For That

This post was originally published on this site

In 2016, nearly half of all drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes were between the ages of 16 and 34. And according to the Pew Research Center, more than 90% of Americans in that age group own a smartphone. Two mobile apps are tapping into those overlapping demographics to target would-be drunk drivers with easier options to find a sober ride home.

“Two Clicks to Save a Life”

The I’M DRUNK app is the creation of Carmen Dellutri and Tom Marquardt, two entrepreneurs determined to eliminate drunk driving and save lives. Their mission is “to change the social mindset of people about going out and being among friends and also about not driving drunk.”

The free app gives smartphone users quick access to taxi, ridesharing, or tow-and-go services anywhere in the country. “You never have to drink and drive or be impaired and drive again. Two clicks to save a life we like to call it,” Marquardt said recently.

The first click activates the app by tapping the “Be Safe” button and the second verifies the user’s location by zip code. The app then lists out transportation options for the user to choose from. Each user represents one less impaired driver on the road.

Mobile Tech Aims to Stop Drunk Driving 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2016, nearly 29 people were killed daily in alcohol-impaired crashes—or almost one person every 50 minutes. In 2015, NHTSA introduced their own mobile app—called SaferRide—to help people who have been drinking find a sober ride home. With SaferRide, users can quickly connect with a taxi or call a friend with a pre-programmed number. And if a user doesn’t know where they are, the app can also pinpoint their current location with a tap of a button.

But, if a potential drunk driver already has a smartphone in hand to call a taxi or ping a ridesharing service, do they really need yet another way to find a safe ride home? Certainly supporters of these apps say yes. Sometimes, as the SaferRide app advertises, “too drunk to drive means too drunk for complicated apps.” As a result, apps like I’M DRUNK and SaferRide offer a simple solution—easy-to-use applications that help people get home alive.

The post Need a Sober Ride Home? There’s An App For That appeared first on Sobering Up.

Flexible Checkpoints Are A Low-Cost Tactic For Deterring DUIs

This post was originally published on this site

On a Saturday night last month, a sobriety checkpoint in Harrisburg, PA stopped 475 vehicles. But for all their efforts, police in Dauphin County made only two DUI arrests. At that same checkpoint location in 2015, 300 vehicles where stopped and 24 arrests were made.

Sobriety checkpoints have long served as a high-visibility enforcement strategy against drunk and impaired driving, but with so few arrests, is it really worth it?

Deterring DUIs or Wasting Time and Resources?

The debate as to whether or not sobriety checkpoints are an effective strategy against drunk driving isn’t new. But determining if sobriety checkpoints serve their intended purpose often depends on what type of results are expected. According to Dauphin County’s chief detective John Goshert, the goal of the Harrisburg checkpoint was not arrests, but deterrence—which is often a harder result to quantify.

While public expectations around checkpoints often focus on arrests, law enforcement agencies view them as opportunities for deterring and educating the public on the dangers of impaired driving. Police do measure the number of arrests in relation to total stops, but success is typically measured by changes in total alcohol-related motor vehicle incidents, including injuries and deaths. According to a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) fact sheet, a review of checkpoint studies found they “reduced alcohol-related fatal, injury, and property damage crashes each by about 20 percent” with another analysis indicating “checkpoints reduced alcohol-related crashes by 17 percent, and all crashes by 10 to 15 percent.”

No matter how success is defined, one thing is clear, checkpoints are resource-intensive, requiring many hours, officers, and a range of agency equipment to operate. But there’s a tactic law enforcement agencies are using to supplement their DUI enforcement, one that broadens the scope of traditional sobriety checkpoints.

Flexible DUI Checkpoints: A Low-Cost Tactic

Flexible checkpoints or “phantom checkpoints” are a strategy that involves staging with enforcement vehicles and signs, but not fully staffing a checkpoint, providing police with an alternative method of DUI enforcement that is less expensive. By creating the appearance of a sobriety checkpoint, the objective is mainly to raise police visibility and DUI awareness within the community.

With flexible checkpoints, officers rarely stop or arrest drivers, but the goal of deterring drunk driving is achieved as drivers observe law enforcement presence and activity. In a study conducted last year by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations (NHTSA), researchers determined that flexible checkpoints serve as “a versatile, low-cost tool that virtually any size law enforcement agency can adapt to enhance enforcement and increase public awareness of enforcement efforts.”

The primary purpose of checkpoints is clear: to deter drunk and impaired driving, not to increase DUI arrests. As long as law enforcement agencies are able to increase the perceived risk of stops with the potential consequence of being arrested for DUI, sobriety checkpoints will continue to be an effective tool for deterring impaired driving.

State Drunk Driving Laws Search Tool

The post Flexible Checkpoints Are A Low-Cost Tactic For Deterring DUIs appeared first on Sobering Up.

When It Comes To Boating, Alcohol and Water Don’t Mix

This post was originally published on this site

With summertime boating season underway, it’s important to remember that impaired driving isn’t limited to the roadways. Boating under the influence (BUI) is just as dangerous as drunk driving and it’s illegal in all 50 states.

The Dangers of BUI

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol is the leading contributing factor in boating deaths, accounting for 15% of all recreational fatalities. In 2016, alcohol played a role in 335 boating injuries and 133 deaths.

Just like drunk driving, alcohol impairs a boater’s judgment, vision, balance, and reaction time. However, these effects can occur more quickly out on the water. A boater operator’s coordination can be slowed by “boater’s hypnosis”—the combo of motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, and wind—which speeds up the impact of alcohol in a person’s system. And excessive drinking can be just as dangerous for passengers. An intoxicated passenger is more likely to fall—either inside the boat or overboard—leading to serious injury or drowning.

Alcohol can also heighten a boater’s inexperience. The average boater only spends 110 hours on the water each year, meaning they may not be as confident operating a boat as they are driving on the road. Add that there are no lanes, lights, or turn signals, and that most boaters aren’t required to obtain special training, and you end up with a dangerous or potentially deadly situation.

#OperationDryWater

This summer, law enforcement agencies in all 50 states are expected to participate in a national campaign to raise BUI awareness. Operation Dry Water (ODW) is a program coordinated by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard and law enforcement agencies. Its mission is “to reduce the number of alcohol- and drug-related accidents and fatalities through increased recreational boater awareness and by fostering a stronger and more visible deterrent to alcohol use on the water.”

Over the weekend leading up to the Fourth of July—a time when both boating activity and drinking spike—ODW will conduct a nationwide awareness and enforcement campaign. The goal is to inform and educate boaters on the consequences of boating under the influence and to prevent them from hitting the open water if they have been drinking or using drugs.

Since its launch in 2009, ODW’s annual three-day campaign has resulted in the removal of 3,038 boaters for BUI. During the 2017 campaign, law enforcement confronted 243,853 boaters, resulting in more than 33,000 warnings or citations and more than 500 BUI arrests.

The post When It Comes To Boating, Alcohol and Water Don’t Mix appeared first on Sobering Up.

Work-release inmate arrested on “pot” charge

This post was originally published on this site

Work-release inmate arrested on “pot” charge

Click here to read a story about a work release-eligible inmate in the Fauquier County jail who was arrested for possessing marijuana in order to sell it. The inmate was monitored with a GPS monitoring device.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,