What Good Is a Designated Driver Who Drinks?

designated-driverThere is only one rule that a designated driver has to follow, but it’s a crucial one: do not drink. You’d think that it would be obvious, but a surprising number of so-called designated drivers end up in handcuffs.

It happened recently in Riverside, California. A police officer saw a Volkswagen doing 57 in a 30 mph zone. As it turned out, the speeder was also a drinker, with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .182, more than twice the legal limit. As per the law, his car was impounded.

The driver had been the designated driver for his 3 passengers. Why did he drink?

One possible explanation is that he thought that a designated driver meant someone who drank less than his passengers. This is a common mistake. In fact, to be worthy of the name, a designated driver should stay off the booze entirely.

Perhaps he had “just one drink,” and the diminished judgement from that led to a second drink. That’s the procession that leads to a DUI.

When you agree to be a designated driver and you drink, you’re not just letting down your friends – you’re endangering them. If you’ve agreed to do the job for the evening, take it as a matter of trust. Do the right thing and stick with soft drinks. You’ll wake up the next day still having friends, your freedom – and your vehicle.

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.

California Drunk Driving Arrests Help State Win Top Spot For Worst Drivers

california drunk driving Have you ever wondered where the worst drivers in the United States live? Given Florida’s track record you would be forgiven for thinking it held this distinction, but you’d be wrong: thanks to California drunk driving and distracted driving, it’s the Golden State that reportedly has the Worst US Drivers by State.

You now know where to avoid driving thanks to a new report by a marketplace website called QuoteWizard. They did a study focusing on crashes, fatalities, traffic tickets, DUI arrests, and speeding tickets. Compiling millions of pieces of data, they came up with a list of the best and worst drivers in America.

Given the combination of California drunk driving arrests and tickets written for distracted driving, the state was able to jump from its 2016 second place finish to first place for 2017. The authors of the study cited Los Angeles gridlock as a hot spot for bad driving, and they also ranked several California cities; Riverside, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Bakersfield as being on the list of cities with the worst drivers. Sacramento held the distinction of being the number one worst city in the nation.

With data like this showing the cold, hard facts about driving in California, residents should be glad that there is a new ignition interlock law on the horizon. Expanding on the current pilot program taking place in several counties, the new ignition interlock law will be implemented in January of 2019. At that point ignition interlocks will become an option for all drivers in the state, and if enough people put them to use, there should be a significant drop in California drunk driving arrests.

Given that the new interlock law is a year away and that distracted driving is only increasing in the state, it’s not surprising that California has taken the top spot. It also seems likely that California could continue to claim the worst drivers in the nation into 2018, and that means there is work to do now.

Friday Fallout: Here’s Why Drunk Driving On New Year’s Eve Is A Bad Idea

drunk driving on New Year's EveDecember 31st is here again, and as 2017 fades away and a fresh new year begins, it’s important to look back, reflect, and count all of the things you could lose if you get caught drunk driving on New Year’s Eve. If listing your family, friends, job, and home isn’t enough, police want you to give you a few other reasons you might want to avoid drinking and driving.

Fresno police just announced they are bringing back a controversial California DUI program called bar watch. Bar watch places undercover police officers in different drinking establishments. These officers will keep an eye on bar patrons, and if they think someone is about to drink and drive, they’ll follow that person to their car and will stop them from getting in and driving.

The bottom line: they aren’t going to let anyone in Fresno drink and drive, and neither are the police in Macon, Georgia. Although it’s almost on the other side of the country, Macon police are also hosting an anti-DUI program called ‘Drive sober or get pulled over.’ It’s an initiative that many states have used to fight drunk driving, and police will be out in force to catch anyone drunk driving on New Year’s Eve.

They’re running the program from December 15th to January 2nd, 2018, and police across the entire state of Georgia will be on the roads looking for drunk drivers. They’re warning all Georgia drivers that if they do drink and drive, being on Santa’s naughty list will be the least of their worries. Instead of a cozy holiday with family, they could be spending time inside a jail cell.

Whether you’re drinking and driving in California or hitting the road under the influence in Georgia, these two programs show that, no matter where you are in the USA this New Year’s, your best option is to drive sober.

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.

California Ignition Interlock Devices Hard At Work In Tulare County

California ignition interlockLong before lawmakers voted to bring in a new California ignition interlock law, there was a pilot program running in certain counties. One of those counties, Tulare, was given a spot in that pilot program for one very good reason: out of all counties in California, Tulare has the highest recidivism rate for drunk drivers.

That means that drunk drivers in Tulare County are much more likely to become repeat offenders. Along with the California ignition interlock law requiring all offenders, including first offenders, to install and use an ignition interlock device, the state of California is offering Tulare another helping hand.

The county’s Probation department has just received a grant worth over $160,000 from the California Office of Traffic Safety. It’s specifically designated to help Tulare County fight back against their repeat drunk drivers by ensuring these offenders will comply with all court orders.

Some of the areas of focus for Tulare County Probation will be:

A hot sheet for police

A hot sheet will be used in Tulare County so all police and traffic officers will know which repeat offenders to look out for and whether or not these drivers already have a suspended license because of a California DUI conviction.

Ensure repeat offenders comply with their probation

Despite driver’s license suspensions, some drunk drivers will continue to drive. With the grant money they receive, Tulare County probation will assign two full time probation officers to monitor repeat offenders so they comply with their probation terms.

Random drug and alcohol testing

An ignition interlock will test a driver’s blood alcohol level. If that driver has alcohol in his or her system, the vehicle won’t start. In addition to requiring these repeat drunk drivers to comply with the current California ignition interlock pilot program, Tulare County will also perform random drug and alcohol testing.

Tulare County has taken these steps to crack down on their drunk drivers. Between the California ignition interlock pilot program, the upcoming new ignition interlock law, and this large grant, the county should start seeing a real change in their drunk driving rates.

Friday Fallout: CA Drunk Driving Arrest Leads To Proposal

California drunk driving Most California drunk driving arrests involve the roadside sobriety test, but not every DUI stop in the state leads to a drunk driving charge.

Take one case in Palmdale that happened recently. It was the middle of a sunny day and a female driver had just been pulled over for suspected drunk driving. She was asked by the police officer to take a field sobriety test, and she complied.

There are a few different types of field sobriety tests used by police in the United States. The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test involves an officer asking you to track the movement of a pen or finger with your eyes. The One-Leg Stand Test involves you standing on one foot and attempting to balance. The last test is the Walk-and-Turn Test.

The Walk-and-Turn Test involves you taking nine steps in a straight line, walking precisely from heel to toe. When you’re walking you’ll be counting out loud, and the officer who has suspected you of drunk driving will assess you as you walk.

What normally happens when you turn around is that the arresting officer will make a judgement call on whether or not you should be asked to submit to a breathalyzer. In this case, the female driver taking the roadside sobriety test was asked to make a judgement call of her own.

When she turned around she found her boyfriend, a California deputy himself, on one knee with a ring in his hand. He had decided to stage the stop in order to propose to her, and he felt like the Walk-and-Turn Test would give him the perfect opportunity to do so.

It’s definitely not the way a California drunk driving stop normally pans out, but she must have been really relieved that she wasn’t actually suspected of drunk driving and even happier after she said yes and received her ring.

It just goes to show; some California drunk driving stops do have the possibility of having a happy ending.

It’s Hard To Believe This California DUI Crash Even Happened

California DUI When someone dies in a California DUI crash it’s always tragic. Because drinking and driving is a choice made by the driver, the crash wasn’t an “accident”: it happened because someone mixed alcohol and driving.

The knowledge that it was 100% preventable makes one recent California DUI crash really hard to swallow. Katie Evans, a mother of six from Santa Clarita, California, was driving back from the hospital when she was struck by a 21-year-old drunk driver. She had crossed the median and crashed into her car when Evans was only a mile from her home.

She was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Not only was she on her way home from the hospital after visiting her newborn, premature twins, she also had four other children under the age of 12 at home waiting for her.

It was clear to police that the driver was under the influence, but when the blood work came back it was revealed that the drunk driver had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .21 at the time of the crash. That’s almost three times the legal limit at which you can be charged with a California DUI.

The driver will receive a host of charges including felony vehicular manslaughter and felony driving under the influence.  At only 21-years-old and given the penalties for a felony DUI in California, she’s almost certain to go to prison for a few years. When she does get out of jail she won’t be driving for a while either as she’ll have a suspended license and, in the future, an ignition interlock to prevent her from driving drunk again.

But a prison sentence and license suspension is minimal compared to what the family of Katie Evans is going through. Six children have lost their mother due to someone’s choice to drink and drive, and anyone who has lived through the same thing will tell you that’s a life sentence.

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