When Your Ride Sharing Service Driver Is Drunker Than You

ride sharing service There is no question that ride sharing companies Uber and Lyft have saved lives. It makes it easy to find a sober ride home when all you have to do is pick up the phone, open a ride sharing service app, and tap a few times to find a ride in your area.

But what do you do when your Uber driver isn’t as sober at all? That was the case in Phoenix recently when a man contacted Uber for a ride and his ride appeared to be drunk. He had been out with friends and they had been drinking, so he decided that the smart thing to do was contact Uber and ask them for a safe ride home.

When the driver showed up and they all got in the car, the man noticed something wrong. As he was driving, the Uber driver commented to the group that he needed to stop drinking so much. Because he was concerned that his driver was drunker than he was, the man who requested the ride began to record the conversation and contaced Uber. He wanted to get the driver off the road.

Uber wasn’t complying at that point, so he contacted 911 instead. When police pulled the Uber driver over, he blew .24 on a breathalyzer. That’s three times the legal limit of .08, and he was supposed to be the sober ride for whomever he was assigned to that night.

Uber has since removed the driver from its service. Although this kind of situation is rare, it does highlight how you still need to be vigilant when choosing a ride sharing service or searching for a sober driver. All too often people just want to get home after a long night out, and they narrow their choices down to the ‘most sober’ person in the group.

That choice can end in tragedy, so whether you’ve picked a ride sharing service or you have a friend driving you home, make sure that driver is truly sober before you get into the car with them.

Drugged Driving Up, But Arizona Drunk Drivers Still Come Out On Top

Arizona drunk driversArizona is one of the few states that have a real handle on their drunk driving problem. Arizona drunk drivers can be charged with many different crimes including DUI, DWI, Extreme DUI, and Super Extreme DUI. Each of these charges come with their own set of penalties, but despite everything, Arizona hasn’t managed to stop all crashes in the state.

Arizona, like many other states, is currently having a problem with drugged drivers. A report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility detailed how the number of fatal crashes involving drugs in 2015 surpassed the number of fatal collisions involving alcohol.

There were a few highlights in the data that dealt with both Arizona drunk drivers and drugged drivers:

  • 43% of the drivers who died in crashes tested positive for drugs. That number was higher than those drivers who tested positive for alcohol
  • Only 57% of the people who died in crashes were tested for drugs, but of those people, 35% of those who were tested had marijuana in their systems

The report shows that there may be an increased in drugged driving in Arizona, but that doesn’t mean that drugged drivers are taking the place of drunk drivers. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association there were over 26,000 DUI arrests in 2016, and out of those only 5,000 were for drugged driving.

Alcohol is still king in Arizona, but thankfully drunk driving is easier for Arizona police to detect. They have the experience to spot, arrest, and charge their drunk drivers, but with drugged drivers the situation becomes more complex. Like most states, Arizona has hundreds of officers recognized as Drug-Recognition Experts, and until there is a method of detection for drugged driving like a breathalyzer, these officers are there to assess suspected drugged-drivers at any time.

The important thing to keep in mind is that, no matter whether you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs, impaired driving is impaired driving. Because of the penalty system and the expertise of the officers in the state, you don’t want to be caught in Arizona under the influence of anything when you’re behind the wheel of a car.

Florida Ranks 17 In WalletHub’s Top 20 Strictest States For DUI

strictest states for duiEvery year Wallethub releases its list of states that are harshest and most lenient on DUI, and this year’s list includes a list of states that are fairly consistently ranked in the top 20 strictest states for drunk driving.

What’s surprising is that Florida, a state that has more than its fair share of crazy drunk driving stories, has earned the 17th spot this year.

If Florida would like to move up on the list, here’s how Florida penalties contrast with Arizona, the state that ranks number one in the strictest states for DUI.

No minimum jail time for a first offender in Florida

Florida doesn’t require minimum jail time for a first DUI offense. Arizona, on the other hand, requires any first offender to spend 10 days in jail.

Repeat offenders in Florida receive 10 days in jail

Jail time is required for a second offense in Florida, while Arizona requires up to 90 days of jail time for a second DUI offense.

A third DUI offense is a felony

Just like in Arizona, Florida has required that a third DUI offense is an automatic felony.

The lookback period in Florida is 10 years

How long should the lookback period, when a previous DUI is still relevant to a new conviction, be for all states? Like most states, Florida sticks to the 10 year rule, and Arizona lags behind by requiring only seven years for the DUI to wash out.

Driver’s license suspensions

Florida actually has a longer administrative driver’s license suspension than Arizona does: 180 days for a first offense compared to Arizona’s 90 days for a first offense.

Ignition interlocks for all offenders

Florida could make a huge leap on the list if they required ignition interlocks for first offenders. Unfortunately, a bill that could have done this in Florida died before it managed to work its way through the proper channels. Arizona does require interlocks for all offenders, and has been watching their DUI stats fall for many years because of it.

Florida, with its vacation vibe and golf cart transportation system, has always had a serious problem with DUI. It’s struggled within its penalty system to deal with its drunk driving offenders, and if the ranking for the strictest states for DUI shows lawmakers and law enforcement anything, it’s that there’s a lot of room to improve.

Drunk Driving Arrests Up During Arizona’s Cinco de Mayo

arizona drunk driving arrestsCinco de Mayo is a date that marks the defeat of the French army during the Battle of Puebla. It happened on May 5, 1862, and that’s why Americans celebrate the holiday every year. But just like St.Patrick’s Day Cinco de Mayo has become a celebration that gives many an excuse to get drunk and, in many cases drive drunk, and that’s why you’ll see a long list of drunk driving arrests happening on these holidays.

If you ask Arizona police how much of an issue drunk driving arrests are on Cinco de Mayo, they’ll tell you they’re seeing a huge upswing. A recent press release from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety detailed how over five hundred people were arrested for drunk driving in 2017 compared to almost four hundred in 2016.

The drunk driving arrests include quite a few misdemeanor DUI (driving under the influence), but there were a one hundred and thirty extreme DUI cases on Cinco de Mayo this year. The extreme DUI is an Arizona drunk driving classification that levies extra penalties on someone who drinks and drives with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over .15.

Overall, when they tallied all of the drunk driving arrests, the average BAC for someone drunk driving on Cinco de Mayo, out of ten thousand drivers stopped, was 0.144. That shows a serious problem with drunk driving on Cinco de Mayo.

It seems strange that in a state like Arizona, one with ignition interlocks for all offenders, extreme DUI and super extreme DUI laws, and law enforcement that are on the streets actively looking for drunk drivers, there would be such a spike in Cinco de Mayo arrests. Let’s just hope that the people who celebrated Cinco de Mayo in a jail cell because they were drunk driving in Arizona learn their lesson and think twice next May.

3 Reasons Arizona Drunk Driving Laws Work

Arizona drunk driving lawsIf you compare Arizona drunk driving laws today with Arizona in 2007, you’d see a huge difference in driving under the influence (DUI) related issues. That was the year Arizona passed its all offender ignition interlock law. Since that time the state has seen a significant decrease in drunk driving deaths.

That’s just one of the reasons why Arizona drunk driving laws are looked upon by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) as a good role model for other states to follow. Here are a few others.

Arizona drunk driving laws have penalty tiers

One of the most unique things about Arizona drunk driving laws are its penalty tiers. You can be classified in a tier depending on what your blood alcohol content (BAC) was when you were arrested.

  • A Standard DUI involves someone with a BAC of .08
  • An Extreme DUI involves someone arrested with a BAC of 0.15
  • You can receive a Super Extreme DUI if you have a BAC of 0.20

Arizona has aggravated DUI penalties

In addition to the penalty tiers, you can also receive an aggravated DUI in Arizona. That happens if you drive on a suspended driver’s license or if you’re caught with three or more DUI charges within seven years. This charge can also be handed out if you drive with a minor under the age of fifteen in your vehicle, or if you drive drunk while you have an ignition interlock in your vehicle.

Arizona drunk driving penalties range in severity

If you’re going to receive a drunk driving charge in Arizona, you definitely don’t want to register a high number of your arresting officer’s breathalyzer. If you’re charged with a standard DUI you’ll receive jail time, fines, and an ignition interlock, but that’s small potatoes compared to what you’ll receive if you are arrested for an aggravated DUI.

An aggravated DUI is considered a class 4 felony in Arizona, and with that comes stiff fines up to $4,000 and from 4 months to 3 years 9 months prison.

All of these factors work together to stop drunk drivers in Arizona, and if any other state is considering an all offender ignition interlock law and working to change their DUI laws, they should give Arizona a look first.

Another Court Says No To Blood Draws From Drunk Drivers

blood draws from drunk driversThere’s been a lot of debate in recent months over whether or not requiring blood draws from drunk drivers is unconstitutional. Take Minnesota for example: a recent case that went all the way to the Supreme Court ended with a ruling that requires authorities, if they want to test suspected drunk drivers, to get a warrant before they obtain urine or blood samples.

Now the Arizona Supreme Court has also made a ruling on blood draws for drunk drivers, and this time it focuses on driving under the influence (DUI) suspects who are unconscious. The ruling was a decision made because of one case where a man was found unconscious on the pavement behind his vehicle. He did regain consciousness long enough to say that the SUV belonged to him, and when he passed out again he was transported to the hospital where the police asked to have his blood drawn. Hospital employees complied with their request.

The case went all the way through the court system before landing in the Arizona Supreme Court, and it brought up the issue over whether or not it was constitutional to allow a blood draw without a warrant if the suspect was dead, unconscious, or otherwise able to give the officer permission to take it.

In a vote of three to two they decided that police can’t take blood samples from an unconscious DUI suspect without a search warrant or unless they are facing an urgent circumstance beyond the fact that time is of the essence when it comes to taking a blood alcohol content (BAC) reading. That’s because alcohol leaves the system within two hours, so to get an accurate reading of what the BAC was at the time of the incident, police need to obtain their blood, urine, or breath evidence without delay.

Although it may seem that rulings like this one, defining the limits on taking blood draws from drunk drivers, would potentially stop police from doing their job, it actually has the opposite effect. In the long run, bringing these issues to light, setting parameters, and following the letter of the law can only help police by eliminating loopholes that these offenders can jump through to avoid prosecution, and that will take more drunk drivers off the roads.

How Many Ignition Interlock Violations Can I Have In Arizona?

arizona ignition interlock complianceThere’s a reason why Arizona is well known as one of the toughest states for drunk driving. Not only do they take first offender drunk driving convictions seriously by requiring penalties that are as tough as some repeat offender penalties in other states, they also have an all offender ignition interlock program that focuses on the one thing that many states do not: compliance.

Ignition interlock compliance is a growing issue in all states with all offender ignition interlock laws, but Arizona has a set of rules to enforce interlocks. From the moment an offender is convicted of drunk driving until they’ve completed their program, they must follow very specific guidelines.

No waiting period for the ignition interlock

When you’re charged with drunk driving in Arizona and you receive an order to install an interlock, you’re required to do so immediately. If you don’t install the device within thirty days your driver’s license will be immediately suspended and you may even have to use the interlock for longer than you were origionally required to.

Ignition interlock violations are serious business in Arizona

Most people realize that if they blow into an ignition interlock and they fail the breath test because they had been drinking, the car won’t start. What you might not know is that if you blow into the device and fail a breath test with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over .08 two or more times, the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department can and will extend your ignition interlock requirement for another six months.

It might sound harsh but if someone is trying to start an ignition interlock equipped vehicle with a BAC over .08, they were clearly intending to drive drunk. If someone persist and has another .08 and over BAC during their six month extension, the Arizona MVD will extend your interlock program by yet another six months.

Those are just two ways Arizona enforces interlock compliance. If you live in Arizona, you have an ignition interlock, and you’re wondering how to avoid interlock violations so you don’t end up with an extension, the answer is simple: never drive after drinking alcohol. As long as you always provide a clean, alcohol-free breath sample, you’ll finish your program in your required time frame.

The Three Levels Of Drunk Driving Penalties In Arizona

drunk driving penalties arizonaArizona is a state that really has it together when it comes to drunk driving, and it’s all because they understand one fundamental principle: not all drunk drivers are created equal. That’s why there are three different levels of driving under the influence (DUI) penalties in Arizona, and this escalating penalty system is one definite way to crack down on drunk drivers.

First-time drunk driving arrest in Arizona

If you’re stopped for drunk driving and are arrested in Arizona with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 to .0.14, you’re going to be spending ten days in jail. As far as other penalties go, you’ll be up to $1250 out of pocket, have to undergo alcohol education, and because Arizona is an all offender ignition interlock state, you’ll also have to install an ignition interlock in any vehicle you operate.

Extreme DUI in Arizona

The next level of drunk driving penalties will be yours if you’re a first offender arrested with a BAC of 0.15 or higher. That type of DUI is called an Extreme DUI and you’ll be jailed for thirty days and fined at least $2,500.  You’ll also have to attend alcohol education and install an ignition interlock in any vehicle you drive.

Super Extreme DUI

It’s true: Arizona has a super extreme DUI penalty program that’s just for first and subsequent offenders who are arrested with a BAC of 0.20 and above. It’s not a felony charge, but carries jail time that’s more significant than what you’d get with a first time felony in Arizona.

A first offender charged with Super Extreme DUI will go to jail for a minimum of forty-five days and pay a minimum of $3,200 in fines. Your time with your ignition interlock will be extended too, because you’ll have to use the device for a period of eighteen months.

Arizona doesn’t make it easy on drunk driving offenders, but that’s a good thing. Maybe if more states got on board with different penalty levels like those in Arizona, people would think twice before drinking and driving.

Friday Fallout: Drunk Drivers A Danger To Police Officers Too

drunk drivers danger to police2016 was a dangerous year for police officers across the nation, and that danger extended to drunk driving checkpoints and patrols. It’s hard to believe that these officers could be responding to a routine call and have it ended in tragedy, but just like anyone else, they can be victims of drunk drivers.

Officer Noah Leotta of Maryland may have been one of the first police officers killed while on duty stopping drivers at a drunk driving checkpoint, but he definitely hasn’t been the last. 2016 has been full of incidents where police officers were attempting to stop drunk drivers and ended up being struck or injured while doing their job.

Texas police officer struck while assessing a crash

A Texas police officer attended a crash recently and was administering a field sobriety test when a drunk driver struck him. Dash cam footage captured him pushing another person out of the way before he sailed through the air and crashed into the ground. Thankfully he’s doing well after receiving minor injuries.

friday-falloutArizona police officer loses an eye

Anyone hit by a drunk driver will tell you that the injuries you receive can be significant, but the simple act of putting drunk drivers in the back of a squad car can also result in a life-altering injury.

An Arizona police officer sustained  an injury to his eye when he was arresting a young woman for drunk driving. During a routine stop Sheriff Deputy Cody Gress was kicked in the eye by the heel of a drunk driver’s boot. Unfortunately that heel kick did such significant damage to his eye that doctors couldn’t help him and he’s now blind in one eye, all because someone made the decision to drink, drive, and resist arrest.

Police officers put their lives on the line every single day, but you’d probably never guess that arresting drunk drivers would be one of the most dangerous parts of their job. As a driver yourself you might think you’re driving a short distance home after a few drinks, but for the police officer on duty, dealing with a drunk driver can be life altering.

The Friday Fallout: Every Friday Guardian Interlock brings you a unique drunk driving case or cases that demonstrate the impact of – or fallout from – drunk driving.

Arizona’s Tipsy Tow Gives Drunk Drivers A Safer Option

Tipsy TowIf you look at all fifty states in the USA and try to figure out who has had the greatest success in the fight again drunk driving, there’s no better example than Arizona.  Not only does the state has an all offender ignition interlock law, they focus on ignition interlock compliance, sobriety checkpoints, and try new initiatives to crack down on drunk drivers during peak drunk driving periods.

One of those new initiatives is Tipsy Tow. Sponsored by AAA Arizona, it’s a service where a tow truck is on standby to help people say no to drunk driving during the busiest drunk driving periods of the year. Kicked off on the night before Thanksgiving, also known as “Drinksgiving,” Tipsy Tow is available on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve too.

Why would you want to tow your car if you haven’t broken down on the side of the road? Imagine that it’s the holidays and you’ve stopped somewhere for a holiday drink. One drink leads to two, and you’re really not sure if you should get behind the wheel but you don’t want to leave your car behind. Because even one glass of alcohol has the power to affect your driving skills, your best option is finding a designated driver or, if you’re in Arizona, calling Tipsy Tow.

Tipsy Tow will tow your car for free up to ten miles away, and if you go over ten miles they’ll charge you the tow truck driver’s standard rates. Anyone can use the service too; you don’t even have to be a AAA member to call, so there’s no reason not to take advantage of the Tipsy Tow service.

With almost five thousand alcohol-related crashes in 2015 alone, Arizona has to try creative solutions to stop drunk drivers. The Tipsy Tow service just goes to show that sometimes you have to think outside of the box when you’re trying to reduce drunk driving rates, and along with ignition interlocks, holiday checkpoints, and Uber, Arizona is becoming a safer place for drivers.

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