Friday Fallout: Another Crazy Florida Drunk Driving Story

dunce-capFlorida is one of those states that has more than its fair share of drunk drivers, and because of that you’ll hear more crazy drunk driving stories coming out of Florida than almost anywhere else.

The balmy climate and the fact that it’s a tourist destination seems to give it a constant vacation atmosphere, so it’s no surprise when drivers take the party from the patio to the wheels of their cars. What is surprising is what they choose to blame that decision on.

One driver in Gainesville decided to take a page from a science textbook after he was arrested for drunk driving. He crashed a car that belonged to a rental car company, and by doing so blocked an entire travel lane on a busy street. When questioned by the police as to how he ended up in that lane, he couldn’t recall. That might be because his blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.233 at the time of arrest, more than double the legal limit of .08.

When he was given the results of his breath tests, he said, “I can’t argue with physics. Physics is physics.”

friday-falloutIt might have been the alcohol affecting his reasoning skills, but it would be difficult to attribute the choice to drink and drive to something like physics. The study of matter and its motion through space and time, physics can explain things like energy and force, but it can’t explain why someone would drink alcohol, get behind the wheel of a car, and crash that car in the middle of the travel lane.

It’s just another one of Florida’s crazy drunk driving stories that will end with the offender receiving a fine, driver license suspension, and if a new bill passes all the way to the Governor’s office, an ignition interlock for every offender who decides to drink and drive.

All’s well doesn’t end well in this case, because this offender could also lose his job. He might have had insurance for that rental car, but the company he got it from was also his employer, and they might not look too kindly on the physics explanation or the drinking and driving on the job.

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

Friday Fallout: Rooster The Star Of Crazy Drunk Driving Story

rooster crazy drunk driving storyAlcohol has the power to put people in abnormal situations, and that’s why so many people end up the star of their own crazy drunk driving story. Some of these stories are heartbreaking because they end with the injury or death of an innocent person, while others can be funny, giving you something to laugh about and you’re relieved no one got hurt.

What happened to a man in Key West, Florida recently falls under the category of a crazy drunk driving story, and if you can picture the situation while reading, it’s actually pretty funny. Daniel Jones of New Jersey was driving a golf cart in a Key West neighborhood. Golf carts as a means of transportation are fairly common in Florida neighborhoods, but what wasn’t so common was the fact that he was swerving erratically on the road.

Bystanders noticed that he was intentionally aiming his golf cart at a rooster that was near him, and one witness said that he was so adamant about hitting that rooster, he ended up rolling the golf cart.

Jones was ejected from the car along with his passengers. The passengers suffered minor injuries, and as for the rooster, he just hopped up on the sidewalk and walked away. After a witness called 911, police arrived and obtained Jones’ blood alcohol content (BAC). It was 0.25, more than three times the legal limit of .08.

Because a golf cart is considered a motor vehicle in many states, Jones was taken to jail for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) and DUI with property damage and minor injury.

Right now a Florida first time drunk driving conviction will net the offender fines, driver’s license suspension, and possibly jail time if someone suffered injury or death because of a crash. If a new bill passes through the House and becomes law, first offenders will also be required to install an ignition interlock.

If passed, Florida is slated to become the 29th state to require ignition interlocks for all offenders. Although you can’t install an ignition interlock on a golf cart, the device could disable a drunk driving offender like Jones from making the same mistake twice.

At the very least, this is one crazy drunk driving story that has a happy ending. No one was injured or killed due to drunk driving, and the rooster lived to see another day.

Alcohol Related Crashes In Florida Aren’t Stopping Without Interlocks

alcohol related crashes in FloridaOut of all the states in the USA, Florida really does have one of the worst reputations for drunk driving, mostly because of the number of alcohol related crashes in Florida. Not only are crashes frequent, but they tend to veer away from a small fender bender into crashes that result in severe injury or death.

Port Richey

Alcohol related crashes like one that just happened in Port Richey happen all the time in Florida, but that doesn’t make it any less tragic when people die because someone made the careless choice to drink and drive. That’s why a 65-year-old woman died when a vehicle crashed into the back of her vehicle after he tried to over take her. Thanks to a drunk driver driving at double the legal blood alcohol content (BAC), both vehicles involved left the road, and the woman died from her injuries.

Coral Springs

Crashes that alcohol related crashes in Florida tend to involve speed, and one crash in Coral Springs is no exception. The drunk driver was going 100 mph when he crashed into the back of another vehicle and caused a fiery explosion. One nineteen year old man died when he was ejected from the vehicle, and others were injured.

When police obtained the drunk driver’s BAC they found he was driving at double the legal limit. He’s been charged with DUI that causes death, DUI that causes serious bodily injury and reckless driving.

These are just two alcohol related crashes in Florida, and there are many more every week. That’s why it’s time Florida got smart and passed an all offender ignition interlock law, and with House Bill 949 on the table, it might finally be that time for the sunshine state.

Finally – Ignition Interlocks For All Florida DUI Offenders?

ignition interlocks in FloridaAre there finally going to be ignition interlocks in Florida? Yes, the state currently has an ignition interlock law on the books, but given the amount of drunk drivers on the roads it’s surprising that Florida hasn’t got on board with all offender law yet.

That might soon change now that a Florida lawmaker has proposed a bill that would require all offenders use ignition interlocks in Florida. The bill, House Bill 949, would require anyone convicted of drunk driving in Florida to install the device, and this would replace the current law that only requires first offenders with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .15 or higher to install.

There are quite a few reasons why Florida would want ignition interlocks for all offenders. Drunk drivers who are only required to lose their driver’s license will often drive on that suspended license anyway, and if they drive on that suspended license, they could decide to drive drunk again. But with an ignition interlock on their vehicle, these offenders won’t be able to move their car if they’ve been drinking.

Another reason why Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and state lawmakers advocate for ignition interlocks is because of the amount of alcohol-related crashes on the roads. All you have to do is watch the news to see that Florida has more than their fair share of these drunk driving crashes, and the National Highway Safety Administration reported that 797 people died in Florida in 2015 thanks to drunk drivers.

If lawmakers pass this bill into law and the state requires all offender ignition interlocks in Florida, it will be join 29 other states in drastically reducing number of drunk drivers on the roads. With so many states on board that could mean, in the not so distant future, every state in the USA passes an all offender ignition interlock law, and that would be great news for everyone.

Friday fallout: Florida Drunk Drivers Shouldn’t Refuse A Breathalyzer

man refusing breathalyzerSome of the most extreme drunk driving stories have come courtesy of Florida drunk drivers. They’ve been arrested for doing everything from drunk driving naked to periscoping their intoxicated drive home, and although you hear about the high rate of driving under the influence (DUI) and arrests in the country, you don’t always hear about how many people refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test so they can avoid being charged with DUI in the first place.

Now Florida wants to put a spotlight on anyone who refuses the breathalyzer. A local Senator has filed a measure that would require escalating penalties for any driver who refuses to submit to either a blood, breath, or urine test when they are asked by a police officer who suspects them of drunk driving.

Florida drunk drivers who refuse the test once would receive fines up to $1,000, get four points on their driver’s license, and will have that license suspended for six months. If they refuse the breathalyzer again after they already refused one test and had their license suspended, they’ll receive a charge that could result in them spending up to a year in jail. Drivers will also need to install an ignition interlock in their vehicle for one year after their receive their license back or if they are allowed to drive on a restricted license.

A law like this is a step in the right direction, but the state could go one step further to stop Florida drunk drivers by passing an all offender ignition interlock law. Current Florida DUI laws don’t require all offenders to install an interlock upon conviction, but if Florida would pass such a law they would join 28 other states and Washington, DC in keeping roads safer for all drivers.

Let’s hope an all offender ignition interlock law is in Florida’s future, and in meantime, stricter rules for refusing the breathalyzer could put the brakes on anyone who thinks refusing a breathalyzer is a good idea.

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.

Crash Shows Why Florida Needs An All Offender Ignition Interlock Law

Florida all offender ignition interlock lawWhen you look at Florida’s repeat offender problem, it’s really hard to understand why the state hasn’t passed an all offender ignition interlock law. The states who have passed all offender laws have seen a significant decrease in drunk driving arrests, and that’s all due to the fact that the device prevents the offender from starting the car drunk. It saves lives, because if the car won’t start, they can’t crash and injure or kill someone.

Florida has seen more than its fair share tragic drunk driving crashes. Just a few weeks ago a man was arrested on charges of driving under the influence (DUI) manslaughter after he was responsible for a crash that killed a three year old boy and injured several other children.

It’s all too common for a drunk driver to collide with another vehicle in the middle of an intersection, and that’s exactly what happened in Hillsborough County. The drunk driver also had his own children in the vehicle when he crossed into the path of the other family’s vehicle. A three year old died at the scene, and his siblings were also injured.

There’s no question that it’s even more difficult to hear about a drunk driving crash involving children, and understanding why it happened isn’t easier when you realize that this driver should have been stopped in the first place. That’s the main reason why so many states advocate for ignition interlocks, and it’s why Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has shared their own support for interlocks via a report detailing exactly how many drunk drivers have been stopped by them.

Yes, there are always the repeat offenders who won’t install the device when they are directed to, and there are offenders who will drive on a suspended driver’s license or ask someone else to blow into their interlock so they can drive drunk, but when they are installed as mandated they stop a drunk driver from ever getting out of the driveway.

Given that success rate and crashes like these, you really have to wonder why Florida continues to say no to an all offender ignition interlock law.

Friday Fallout: Florida, Toughen Up Those Drunk Driving Laws

sign-dont-drink-drive-floridaFrom Orlando to Tampa and all the way down to the Keys, Florida law enforcement have their hands full with drunk drivers. One of the reasons why may be is that the state’s drunk driving laws aren’t tough enough.

While Arizona’s declining drunk driving arrests and crashes are a great example of positive outcomes from stiff drunk driving laws, Florida is the perfect example of what can happen when you just aren’t tough enough, and these two recent drunk driving cases show just how bad Florida’s drunk drivers have become.

Ponte Vedra woman crashes with two children in the car

Drinking and driving by yourself is illegal and dangerous, but when you bring your children along for the ride you’re endangering the lives of people who don’t have the power to say no. That’s why one mother from Ponte Vedra is in jail right now.

Not only did she crash and leave the scene of several hit and runs in Nassau County, she continued to drive to Georgia, and that’s where she struck a police car. When police arrested her they discovered she had two children in the car, and she’s been booked on driving under the influence (DUI) endangering a child and other charges.

Sugarloaf cook lands in hot water

Because of the mild weather, Florida has its fair share of people riding on scooters. They drive on the sides of the roads, and like pedestrians, don’t stand a chance when they are in the path of a drunk driver.

One Florida drunk driver ran into several of those scooters while driving drunk, and one person died and three others were injured as a result. He’s now in jail on a variety of drunk driving and drunk driving manslaughter charges.

Two examples of drunk drivers in Florida, and two very strong indicators that these drivers don’t seem to be deterred by the current drunk driving laws. So what can Florida do to stop drunk drivers and toughen up their laws? Maybe it’s time for an all offender ignition interlock law.

A recent study showed that ignition interlocks will deter drunk driving offenders, and once they are installed, the device will stop that driver from starting the car if they have alcohol in their system.

If Florida is looking for the solution to stopping these drivers, ignition interlocks are the answer.

New Year, New Teen Drunk Driving Crashes

teen drunk driving crashes FloridaFlorida drunk driving crashes are fairly common. Every weekend you’ll hear about one or more crashes in the sunshine state, so it’s not going to surprise you that the first drunk driving crash of 2017 happened in the early hours of January 1st. What could shock you is that it was caused by a teen drunk driver who isn’t even legal to drink yet.

Right after the clock struck midnight on the new year, a nineteen year old was driving a borrowed car down a highway in Key Largo. She veered off the road, hit a few street signs, and did a lot of damage to both her vehicle and the street signs. Although that’s a problem for any drunk driver, it’s even worse if that drunk driver is only nineteen and shouldn’t be drinking in the first place.

The Florida teen isn’t the only underage drinker kicking off the new year with a drunk driving crash. After police pulled over a North Carolina teen for drunk driving, he was handcuffed and put in the back seat of a squad car. Left alone in the vehicle, he made the decision to un-cuff himself, get behind the wheel of the car, and head off on a joy ride. Although he’s only eighteen, odds are he’s going to be spending some adult-sized time in a local prison.

There might be driver’s education and programs in the high schools to stop teen drunk driving, but a lot of teens seem to be ignoring that and driving drunk anyway. Maybe it’s time for states like Florida to enforce  zero tolerance laws for teen drunk driving.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) believes zero tolerance laws are an effective step to stopping teen drunk driving crashes, and along with parental guidance, mandatory ignition interlocks, and graduated driver licensing, could form a system to stop crashes like these on New Year’s day and every day after.

Ignition Interlocks – The Answer to Florida Drunk Driving

ignition interlock repeat offender FloridaEach and every state in the USA has a problem with repeat drunk drivers, but every state seems to deal with this population of offenders in a different way. Some states are strict, with jail time, stiff fines, and different levels of penalties for different types of offenders, while others treat a first offense in the same way they would a traffic ticket.

There is one common penalty that, if passed across the board in the United States, would stop each and every offender from drinking and driving again: an ignition interlock. These devices are by far the simplest and most effective solution to preventing drunk drivers from driving, and they are so effective that Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has come out in strong support of the devices.

More and more states are starting to get the message that repeat drunk drivers can and will be stopped by ignition interlocks, and that’s why it’s surprising that states like Florida, with such a large repeat offender population, haven’t yet passed an all offender ignition interlock law.

Why hasn’t a state that’s so well known for drunk driving not passed an interlock law when so many other states are already on board? There are a lot of variables at work, but one of the main reasons could be that lawmakers in Florida feel they already hand down harsh penalties for drunk drivers.

A first offender in Florida could spend up to six months in jail, they’ll pay fines up to $1,000, and they’ll lose their driver’s license for up to one year. Those are pretty harsh penalties, because most states don’t have jail time for first offenders at all.

A first time Florida offender can very easily turn into a repeat offender, all because there’s nothing stopping them from drinking and driving on a suspended license. If they were required to use an ignition interlock, they’d have to blow before they could go, and that would prevent them from making the choice to drive drunk.

Because Florida is tougher on drunk drivers than a lot of other states, the answer to curbing their repeat offender problem really is simple: require ignition interlocks for all offenders. Having that law will make a real difference when it comes to Florida road safety.

If You See A SnapChat Drunk Driver, What Should You Do?

snapchat-drunk-driver-florida

Image from http://www.nbc26.com/

Everyone should know the tell tale signs of a drunk driver on the road. If the car is slowing down and speeding up, braking frequently, or swerving erratically in the lane, you know you should call that car into the police by dialing 911. But what if the drunk driver you spot is on social media?

Over the past ten years the shift to smartphones, tablets, and apps has made the world a smaller place, and it’s created some unique situations. Now people can be sitting at home, surfing the Internet, and they could realize that they need to report a drunk driver. Even stranger, it’s probably someone they don’t even know.

When a Port Charlotte, Florida couple was out with friends recently, they left a SnapChat trail of videos all evening. Some of the videos were of them doing shots, while others showed them drinking with the group they were with.

The first video was shot at 11 pm and the last at 1:15 am. An hour later the couple who shared the videos crashed when the car went off the road and collided with a road sign and a tree. Both passenger and driver died.

Although there is no video of the driver behind the wheel of a car, because of the videos showing the couple drinking before they drove, Florida police are proceeding with their investigation of the crash on the theory that it was caused by drunk driving.

This isn’t the first time someone in Florida used social media after or during a drunk drive. A Florida woman was drunk driving on Periscope and multiple users made the decision to call her into the police. She was arrested shortly after.

A case like this really makes you think: what would you do or could you do if you saw someone drinking or drinking and driving on social media? Even if you don’t know that person, would you ask them to find a designated driver, call one for them yourself, or call them into the police when you saw they were behind the wheel?

Thanks to social media, these are questions that need to be answered. The safest option in all cases is to try to help by suggesting a sober ride or calling the police if you can see that person is drunk behind the wheel. Just like you’d pick up the phone if you were behind a drunk driver on the road, living with the “what if” of not trying would be far worse than the effort it would take to post a quick message or make a phone call.

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