Drunk Driving Myths You Need To Know About

Myth Lock Ness MonsterThere are a lot of reasons why people make the decision to drink and drive. They might think they aren’t that intoxicated, so getting behind the wheel is no big deal. Or, they don’t think the laws apply to them, so why would they get stopped for driving under the influence (DUI)?

But one of the biggest reasons why people drive drunk is because they buy into drunk driving myths. These myths are widely held beliefs that most people take as fact, but the reality is that they just aren’t true.

Need an example? Here are 5 drunk driving myths:

Myth: Drinking coffee or having an ice cold shower will sober me up

Fact: The only way to get sober after drinking is by giving your body time to metabolize the alcohol. On average, you need approximately 2 hours to metabolize one standard alcohol drink.

Myth: When it comes to penalties, it’s better to not submit to a breathalyzer

Fact: Most states have what’s called an ‘Implied Consent’ law. That means by accepting a drivers license in your state, you agree to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test if a police officer suspects you of drinking and driving. If you refuse to submit to the breathalyzer, you could receive an additional charge and still lose your drivers license or be required to install an ignition interlock device.

Myth: Hyperventilating before you submit to a breathalyzer will affect your results and give you a lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC)

Fact: It’s impossible to alter the reading of a breathalyzer by breathing in a different way, just like hyperventilating before you breath into an ignition interlock will affect whether you pass or fail.

Myth: After I sleep off the alcohol, I’ll be OK to drive

Fact: If you drink approximately 5 drinks all in a row and you fall asleep for 5 hours, when you wake up you would most likely still blow over the legal limit on a breathalyzer. Why? You’d have to wait 10 hours to fully metabolize 5 alcohol drinks, so going to sleep is no guarantee you won’t be drunk when you wake up.

Myth: When you’re convicted of drunk driving, you only have to pay a fine and that’s it

Fact: A DUI conviction can cost you a lot more than just a fine. Along with the fine you will pay court fees, drivers license reinstatement fees, and if required, ignition interlock installation and monthly fees.

There’s no good excuse or reason to drink and drive, so stay sober when you’re behind the wheel.

San Diego Launches Underage Anti-Drinking And Driving Program

underage-drinking-drivingThe coastal beaches in California are full of teens kicking back and enjoying their summer vacation, and not many of them are considering going back to school or even taking a quick summer course. But that’s exactly what the San Diego Police Department would like teens to do, and they’ve launched the SDPD Teen Alcohol Awareness Program to get teens back into the classroom for a little instruction and information on drinking and driving.

California DUI laws are strict for teens, and they have a zero tolerance policy for teen drinking and driving. The state has a good reason for that too—teens are four times more likely to be injured or killed in a DUI related crash than an adult driver.

The SDPD Teen Alcohol Awareness Program is designed for newly licensed teen drivers and those teens that just finished high school. In a classroom setting, these teens and their parents will have a chance to learn about the risk and costs of drinking and driving, and even give them a preview of what happens at a driving under the influence (DUI) checkpoint.

After the classroom instruction, parents of teens will be asked to leave. Once that happens the teens will be taken straight to a real, live sobriety checkpoint. When there they’ll see exactly what happens when someone is stopped for drinking and driving including the initial screening, how the police detain drivers they suspect of drinking and driving, and what happens when the offenders are arrested and taken to the police station.

These are the types of courses that can make all the difference for teen drivers. Maybe if they see a real checkpoint, they’ll decide against underage drinking and getting behind the wheel, or they’ll say no to a ride from a friend if they suspect he or she of drinking before they drive.

It’s Not Easy, But You Need To Talk To Your Teen About Drinking And Driving

talk-teen-drinking-drivingIt’s never easy talk to your teen about drinking and driving, but with summer here, it’s never been more necessary. Because the summer months involve no school, a loose schedule, and a lot of hanging out with friends, your teen may be open to the idea of underage drinking. If they are open to the idea of under age drinking, they could end up making the choice to drink and drive.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), car crashes are the leading cause of teen death, and one quarter of those crashes involve an underage drinking driver. You might not be worried that your child will be the one doing the driving, but when it comes to keeping your teen safe, you should prepare for any possibility.

Here are a few ways you can talk to your teen about drinking and driving.

Make your feelings about drinking and driving known

Experts say that you should let your teen know how you feel about underage drinking and underage drinking and driving, but when you do, don’t come across as lecturing. You could share the statistics on teen crashes in a matter of fact way, and let them know you’re concerned something could happen to them if they make the wrong decision.

Let them know you’d notice if they’ve been drinking

Some teens think they can slip past their parents and they won’t notice that they’ve had a few to drink, so letting them know that you’d definitely notice is a good idea. That way they’ll think about the consequences before they drink.

Help them avoid peer pressure

Peer pressure is a big deal when you’re a teen, and sometimes your child could feel coerced into drinking or getting into a car with someone they know has been drinking. If you come up with strategies to avoid situations where there may be alcohol, you won’t have to worry that he or she will make the wrong choice when pressured by friends.

Talking about underage drinking and teen drinking and driving isn’t an easy conversation, but to keep your teen safe, it’s one you should consider having as soon as possible.

Summer Camp Teaches Your Teen About Drunk Driving

breathalyzerSome teens still go to summer camp, but they usually go as camp counselors or they work there on a volunteer basis to earn some summer college credits. A few teens in Sioux Falls, South Dakota are going to camp this year too, but this time they’ll be learning driving skill and the dangers of drunk driving.

The period of time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is known as the 100 deadly days to be a teen driver, and that’s why Ford’s Driving Skills For Life camp is stopping in South Dakota on July 25th and 26th. It’s part of a state tour promoting safe driving to teens, and they are putting it on in partnership with the Governors Highway Safety Association with the goal to give teens the skills and knowledge to avoid crashing when they’re in situations involving speeding, drunk driving, and distracted driving.

The Governors Highway Safety Association has stated that 60% of teens crash because they lack experience in four key areas: vehicle handling, speed management, hazard recognition, and distracted or impaired driving. During the 2-day camp the teens will be given classroom instruction and taken out on a driving range with professional drivers.

During their time on the driving range, the teens will be given goggles and a special drunk driving suit to show them the true danger of drinking and driving, and they’ll be asked to use their cell phone to call and text to show them how dangerous distracted driving is. With 6 teen fatalities in 2015 already, this type of educational camp is long overdue.

Ford’s Driving Skills For Life camp will be touring across the United States and stopping in Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and North Dakota this summer. Attendance is free, and if you’d like more information on how your teen can attend the camp, visit www.drivingskillsforlife.com.

Want To See What It’s Like To Drive Drunk?

ford-impairment-suitIt’s summer, teens are out of school, and the roads are full of people traveling to and from their summer vacation rentals or out for a night on a patio somewhere in the city. Although summer is one of the best times of the year as far as fun and good weather are concerned, it’s also the deadliest season for teen drivers.

The 100 Day stretch that happens from Memorial Day to Labor Day is the time of year when many, many teens are injured or killed on United States roadways. To bring awareness you may see ad campaigns geared at preventing teen fatalities in the summer, public service announcements from organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and this summer teens may also see an impairment suit brought to you by the Ford Motor Company.

The impairment suit simulator is part of the Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) program, and it’s designed to teach newly licensed teen drivers what it’s like to drive drunk. With goggles to blur your vision, weights to make your arms and ankles feel heavy, and headphones to alter your hearing, the impairment suit attempts to mimic exactly what it would be like for anyone who decides to have a few drinks then get behind the wheel.

Ford is touring the impairment suit all over the country, with stops in major cities and at major events where teens will be. Although teens may think it’s fun to try on the suit, the goal is to really get them thinking about just how alcohol can affect you when you’re driving, and if they have first hand experience, it may just stop them from making the choice to drink and drive.

You can find out more about Ford’s impairment suit and where it’s touring at drivingskillsforlife.com.

Image from drivingskillsforlife.com

3 Technologies To Help Prevent Teen Crashes

teen-crashes As a parent, there’s every reason to be scared when a teen gets a driver’s license. The freedom they get from being handed the car keys can translate into reckless behavior, and reckless behavior behind the wheel can lead to teen crashes.

Fatal car crashes are still the leading cause of death among teens, but there are 3 new pieces of technology that will track your teen’s behavior so you can relax when they’re out in the car by themselves.

Technology to stop them from drinking and driving

An ignition interlock is a device that, once installed in your vehicle, will require your teen to submit a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) sample before the car or truck will start. Ignition interlocks are voluntary in many states, so you have the option of installing one if you’re worried that your teen will drink and drive.

Technology to set a maximum speed limit

Ford MyKey is available in any Ford vehicle with the MyFordTouch infotainment system installed. It’s a special key parents can use to control the settings of the car including setting a maximum speed limit of 80 MPH and adjusting the audio system so the teen can’t turn up the music too loudly. The radio will also not turn on if the seat belts aren’t fastened, so your teen will be forced to buckle up.

Technology to limit where your teen drivers

Unlike the Ford MyKey, the General Motors Family Link System won’t stop your teen from speeding. What it will do is stop your teen from driving outside of a certain area. You set the perimeter they can drive within, and if they go outside of it, you get a text message. You can also locate the car or truck at any time just by going onto the GM OnStar website.

From speeding to drinking and driving, it’s nice to know technology has advanced to the point that there are ways you can protect your teen before they make the wrong decision while behind the wheel.

Mock Deaths Teach Teens Dangers Of Drinking And Driving

teaching-teens-danger-drinking-drivingHow do you teach your teen to not drink and drive? It’s hard for anyone to really grasp the life and death consequences of drinking and driving until a crash happens to them or someone they love, and that’s why a Minnesota high school is helping teens fake their own deaths.

Did you know that every 15 minutes someone, somewhere dies in an alcohol-related car crash? Moorhead High School in Minnesota has set up a program called ‘Every 15 minutes’ and it involves simulating a mock accident and the death of a student due to drinking and driving. The students participating are taken away for the day, and their parents have to write obituaries for their child.

In addition to the fake deaths, the high school staged a car crash made up of teens participating. Each teen that ‘died’ had their face painted white to simulate death, and the crash simulation was designed to show teens the sights and sounds of an actual alcohol-related car crash.

These types of scenarios are a concrete way to enforce the realities of drinking and driving for teens. If you don’t have access to a program like ‘Every 15 minutes’ at your teen’s high school, there are a few other steps you can take:

  • Talk to your teen about the dangers of underage drinking, and cite examples from the news about driving under the influence (DUI) related crashes
  • Limit your teen’s night time driving, and ensure they have the car back by a certain time
  • Ask your teen to not drive with others their age. If they need a ride, ask them to always call you
  • Ensure your teen knows that seat belts save lives, and to always wear one while in a vehicle

Keeping your teen from making the choice to drink and drive may be as simple as keeping the lines of communication open. For more information on how to talk to your teen about drinking and driving, visit Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

Real Life Hits Home For Students Who Attended Real DUI Trail

DUIA driving under the influence trail is a nerve-wracking time for an offender. Whether that person is a first time offender or has repeat DUI on record, having to answer for their actions in court can be harrowing.

But for a recent DUI offender in Marin County, California, some good may come from his DUI trial. A group of teens from a local high school were given the opportunity to sit in and watch the proceedings as part of the Real DUI Court in Schools program, and what they learned surprised them.

Jose Guadalupe Paniagua-Paniagua is only 20 years old, but he’s on his second California DUI. His trail took 4 long hours, during which evidence was presented, and the court learned he was stopped for DUI after having trouble staying in his lane on the highway. Officers pulled him over, he failed field sobriety tests, and his blood was taken shortly after. He was well over double the legal limit, registering at .22 blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

Some of the students registered surprise that he had a BAC that high considering the video evidence didn’t show a man stumbling down drunk. When the jury deliberated, the students were invited to advise the Judge on whether or not they thought he was guilty. Their verdict? He was guilty of DUI, but they didn’t think he was guilty of having a BAC of .22.

The real jury saw it differently, and they found him guilty of both charges. For his crime Paniagua-Paniagua received 30 days in jail, three years probation, a driver’s license suspension for one year, and he must install an ignition interlock device in his vehicle. He’ll also have pay fines over $3,000 and complete an 18-month DUI multiple offender program.

Once it was over, the Judge had some advice for the kids who attended – given the costs of a DUI, “it would be cheaper to hire a helicopter to fly you around.”

Maybe attending the DUI trail will ensure these teens never make the mistake of drinking and driving.



It’s Time To Stop Underage Drinking And Driving In Oklahoma

Ignorance may be bliss when it comes to a lot of things, but no one living in the United States can honestly say they don’t know that choosing to drink and drive is dangerous. There are public awareness campaigns on behalf of law enforcement, media coverage of the launch of new ignition interlock programs and modifications to driving under the influence (DUI) laws, and even billboards asking people to call in drunk drivers. Despite the push to end drunk driving, every single day there are people, including teens not old enough to drink, who put the keys in the ignition and drive while under the influence.

One family in Oklahoma knows the pain of losing someone to a teen drunk driver all too well – their mother, Debra Reed, died after being hit by 20-year-old woman who was drinking and driving. Not only was she not old enough to drink, her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was twice the legal limit and she already had one DUI on record.

Time To Stop Underage Drinking And Driving In OklahomaThat senseless tragedy was enough to motivate one Oklahoma lawmaker to seek changes to Oklahoma DUI laws. Rep. John Enns would like to crack down on all drunk drivers in the state, but his main focus is on young drunk drivers who shouldn’t have been drinking in the first place.

Current Oklahoma DUI law for individuals under 21 includes fines, community service or a treatment program, and a driver’s license suspension for a period of time. Enns is proposing a bill that would require any underage drinker, even first offenders, who are caught drinking and driving to have their driver’s license taken away until he or she turns 21. He also added a component to the bill that would require anyone drinking and driving to have ‘DUI’ stamped on their license, preventing them from purchasing alcohol for 3 years.

The law Enns is proposing could be the wake up call Oklahoma needs to stop drinking and driving, and it may prevent another tragedy caused by a young drinking driver. For more information on how you can stop your teen from choosing to drink and drive, take a look at Guardian Interlocks’ post on talking to your teen about drunk driving.

Taking The Steps To Stop Your California Teen From Underage Drinking

underage drinkingIt’s a fact that teens will take risks. From taking a huge jump on a dirt bike or hitching a ride in a car with someone they don’t know, that feeling of invincibility teens have and the need to test their limits is a part of growing up. For the most part, they can dust themselves off and move on, but some risky behaviors can cause serious injury or death, and that’s where they need the guidance to make the right decisions.

Take underage drinking as an example – it claims the lives of approximately 4,300 teens every year, and some of those lives were claimed because that teen made the choice to drink and drive. Parents and other adults close to teens will talk to them about drinking and driving, distracted driving, or taking drugs before getting behind the wheel, but despite the best intentions, that talk can come across as a lecture.

But when a teen talks to other teens about these issues, it sounds more like a friend giving another friend advice. That’s why the California Friday Night Live Partnership is distributing $400,000 in grant money to various state-wide programs to support underage drinking prevention, and they are focusing on peer-to-peer programs in an effort to stop teens from engaging in high risk behaviors.

California parents can expect to see the funds at work in their communities this year. In the meantime, parents can open the lines of communication and talk to their teens about underage drinking and drinking and driving by taking the following steps right now:

  • Ask your teen open ended questions and let them know you’re available to listening to their opinions and feelings
  • If you feel your teen won’t talk to you or honestly share their thoughts, find someone they trust and ask them to help you discuss these issues
  • If you’re concerned your teen is drinking and driving behind your back, explore the possibility of installing an ignition interlock in your vehicle so you know they will be safe while driving

For more information on how to talk to your teen, take a look at MADD’s Power of Parents page.