Palm Beach County To Help Drunk Driving Victims

drunk driving victims Drunk driving victims and their families end up losing in more ways than one. Not only do they lose a beloved family member, but they’re also thrust into a situation where they have  to take on medical bills, shoulder the cost of funerals, and take time off of work to attend court hearings before the drunk driver responsible is sentenced.

That’s why Palm Beach County has decided to honor drunk driving victims by directly helping out their families. The county has recently been awarded an almost $600,000 grant to allow them to assist the families of drunk driving victims emotionally and financially while they are forced to shoulder the  aftermath of a drunk driving crash.

Palm Beach County Victim Services will begin by reaching out to offer victims a few much-needed services.

Grief counseling

A drunk driving crash is not an accident. The crash happened because of a choice, and because someone drank and got behind the wheel of a car, someone else lost a loved one.  Palm Beach County Victim Services is going to reach out to those families and provide grief counseling.

Planning funerals

The days after someone loses a family member to drunk driving can be a blur, and there are many decisions to be made including the planning of the funeral. Palm Beach families will have a helping hand with the difficult process of planning thanks to victim services.

Financial Assistance

Medical bills really add up after a drunk driving crash, and if someone doesn’t have adequate medical insurance or if they’ve been forced to stay in the hospital because of a drunk driver, Palm Beach County will help with financial assistance.

Assisting police

Police officers take on many difficult tasks in the course of their day, but notifying a family that someone they love has been killed or injured in a drunk driving crash has to be one of the hardest. Palm Beach County will work with police on how best to notify these families.

What can the rest of Florida do?

Florida has a serious drunk driving problem, and it’s great that Palm Beach County will be assisting drunk driving victims after a crash. But there’s more that can be done in Florida to help drunk driving victims, and that’s to stop these crashes in the first place.

Nothing will work better to stop drunk drivers than an all offender ignition interlock law. An all offender law requiring all drunk drivers, even first offenders, to install an ignition interlock would drop the crash rate in Florida.

With a lower crash rate there would be fewer victims, and although Palm Beach County is there to help, that’s exactly what they’d like to see.

Halloween Drunk Driver Truly Terrifies One Family

Halloween drunk driverHalloween is supposed to be fun for families, but a Halloween drunk driver can take a holiday that should be about candy and harmless tricks and turn it into a nightmare for families.

Although the spooky holiday has passed by for another year, a family in Pike County, Kentucky will remember Halloween 2017 forever. As a mother and her three-year-old daughter were out trick-or-treating, they would crashed into by a Halloween drunk driver behind the wheel of a truck.

The man, Gregory Hackney, had taken his wife and his grandson out trick-or-treating himself, but he had been drinking and had open alcohol in his truck. He backed his truck straight into the three year old and her mother, striking the toddler in the head with his back bumper. Police say if witnesses hadn’t stopped him he would have killed the pair.

When police arrived they found alcohol in the truck, and when asked to perform field sobriety tests,  Hackney failed both. He was placed under arrest and received numerous charges including operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs and assault.

Instead of going home to sort through a big bag of candy, this mother and child were taken to the hospital. Both will recover, but what they won’t recover from so easily is the terror caused by a Halloween drunk driver.

With the holidays looming right around the corner, it becomes even more possible that days meant for fun and festivities will be destroyed because someone made the decision to drink and drive. That’s why Kentucky needs to pass an all offender ignition interlock law. An all offender law—requiring ignition interlocks for first time and all other offenders, will prevent that person from driving their vehicle if they blow over .02 on the device.

With an all offender law, Kentucky could prevent these drunk drivers from leaving the driveway after they’ve been drinking, and that could stop situations like these from happening.

Makes No Sense: Why Do Parents Driving Drunk With Children Along?

driving drunk with children Unless you’ve been living off the grid, you should know by now that driving after drinking alcohol is dangerous, illegal, and could possibly kill you or someone else. Why, then, are parents still driving drunk with children along?

There have been more than a few cases recently that involve parents driving drunk with children in the vehicle, and they will make you wonder what that parent was thinking.

New mother in Texas takes baby along

It’s hard to believe anyone would do anything to endanger an infant, but when you take a baby along with you in your car while you’re drunk, you are putting that baby’s life in jeopardy.

That’s exactly what a mom in El Paso, Texas did recently. She took her four-month-old infant with her, and while driving at one am, was unable to remain in her lane. Thankfully police pulled her over before anyone was hurt, and now she’s facing a DWI with a child passenger charge.

In Texas that charge may be a state felony, and the penalties for it include a $10,000 fine, two years in prison, and the loss of a driver’s license for six months.

Illinois woman charged after she drives impaired with five-year-old

A Naperville, Illinois woman was arrested on a DUI charge after she was stopped for driving erratically. That’s bad enough, but she also had a five year old in the back seat of the vehicle and the child wasn’t in a car seat.

She was called in by a concerned driver, and when police arrived they found she was driving under the influence and had a suspended license. She’s also been charged with endangering the life of a child and received a car seat violation.

In Illinois, endangering the life of a child because of a DUI charge will mean that the defendant receives stiff penalties. She may serve six months in prison, and if that child would have been harmed in any way because she was driving drunk, she could spend one to three years in prison and pay a maximum of $25,000 in fines.

When will parents learn that drunk driving with children along is a bad idea for everyone? The parents end up in hot water, and the children have the potential to be injured or killed. It really is a no win situation for everyone involved.

Friday Fallout: Worst City For Florida Drunk Driving Charge.

Florida flagIt doesn’t matter what sunny city you live in; Florida drunk driving touches every corner of the state. Although local lawmakers only have to compare statistics with states like Arizona to see how significant the drunk driving problem is, they still haven’t passed an all offender ignition interlock law.

But there’s good news for safe drivers in St.Petersburg, Florida: if you drink and drive in that city, you’re going to pay a stiffer price than you would in any other city in the state. Just this month the city council passed a new ordinance that gives police officers more power over penalizing drunk drivers.

Instead of just leaving the fines up to the local DMV, St.Petersburg police officers will be able to issue a $500 fine to anyone who is arrested for drunk or drugged driving. That fine will come in addition to costs that Florida drunk driving offenders pay for towing and impound. When collected, the funds collected will go to the city, not the police department. This new ordinance will take effect on October 12th with police officers able to begin issuing the fine as of November 10th.

friday-falloutWhy an extra fine on top of all of the fines that people in Florida pay for drunk driving? It’s just one more way that the police in St.Petersburg are cracking down on their drunk drivers, and judging from the numbers of DUI arrests in the city, it’s not a moment too soon. So far this year St.Petersburg police have arrested 445 drunk drivers, and that number could soon be up over last year’s total of 469 arrests.

It’s a unique tact for tackling the problem of Florida drunk driving, and it may be enough to deter some people who would potentially drive drunk. Unfortunately it won’t stop those chronic repeat offenders who are already caught and convicted of drunk driving. The only thing that can stop those drivers are ignition interlocks.

Along with the new fine, Florida police might want to stand in support of passing an all offender ignition interlock law – a law which requires all drunk driving offenders, including first offenders, to install an ignition interlock, which prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking. State laws aren’t as easy to pass as city ordinances, but if police in the state really want to stop drunk drivers, an all offender ignition interlock law will do just that.

A Few Scary Statistics On Halloween Drunk Drivers

halloween-drunk-driversHalloween parties, tricks and treats, and goblins both big and little on the roads: Halloween is one of the busiest nights of the year for pedestrians, and unfortunately, it’s also a busy night for Halloween drunk drivers.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Halloween is one of the deadliest nights on the roads. 44% of fatal crashes on Halloween and the weekend prior to involve a drunk driver, and 23% of pedestrian deaths on Halloween night are due to someone making the choice to drink and drive.

Those are scary statistics, but the good news is that, with a little preparation, you can protect yourself and the people you love this Halloween.

If you’re a pedestrian this Halloween

Whether you’re out walking your little one for trick or treating or you’re heading out to a local party, any pedestrian on the roads this Halloween should be well aware of their surroundings at all times, stick to the sidewalks when walking, and stay in large groups if possible.

You can also add reflective material to your clothing and carry a flashlight. Both will make you more visible to drivers on dark roads.

If you’re a driver this Halloween

If you plan on drinking this Halloween, the best thing you can do for yourself and everyone else on the roads with you is to find a sober driver before you go out. That way you’ll already have a ride home planned and you won’t be tempted to drive your own vehicle.

If you spot a Halloween drunk driver, don’t hesitate: pick up the phone and dial 911 and provide police with as many details as possible.

If you’re hosting a party this Halloween

Before you host a Halloween party you should brush up on social host laws in your state. You may be liable for any underage drinkers at your party, and you can also be responsible for people who leave your home and drive under the influence.

Do your part by collecting car keys and ensuring that no one under the legal drinking age has access to alcohol.

Halloween is supposed to be scary, and knowing the roads could be clogged with Halloween drunk drivers may be the scariest thing you experience this holiday. Follow these tips, stay safe, and you’ll have fun on the spookiest night of the year.

Local Pub Helps Prevent Drunk Driving Deaths With Free Uber Rides

drunk driving deaths uberSince New Mexico passed its ignition interlock law they’ve seen a significant decrease in drunk driving deaths overall. But alcohol-related crashes still happen. One drunk driving crash in Albuquerque has prompted a man to create an Uber program to save lives.

It was two years ago when three people, Grace Sinfield and brothers Roberto Mendez and Sergio Mendez-Aguire, were struck and killed by a drunk driver. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by the grief, a friend of the brothers decided to channel that pain into a program he called the Mendez Uber Program.

He decided to partner up his workplace, ABQ Live The Magazine, and with the SandBar Brewery and Grill to create the program. It’s designed to give patrons a free ride home via Uber after they’ve been drinking.

If you are a group of three or more people heading to the SandBar for a night out, you’ll need to use Uber to get there. When you arrive you show your server your Uber receipt and when it’s time to leave, the server will enter a promo code on your phone to give you a $15 Uber coupon. That coupon is usually enough to get most people home, and it’s a great incentive for patrons who want to avoid the possibility of driving drunk.

In New Mexico, just like in all states, the goal is to continually decrease drunk driving deaths until they’re a thing of the past. Along with ignition interlock devices to stop convicted drunk drivers from driving their vehicles, ride sharing is one of the best ways to keep drunk drivers off the roads.

If this ride sharing program is seeing success at only one bar, imagine how many lives it could save if it became a part of every nightclub and every pub’s responsible serving program. Preventing more alcohol-related deaths in this way is the best way anyone can honor the memory of someone lost to drunk driving.

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.

Suspected Drunk Driver Crashes Into Amish Buggy In Minnesota

suspected drunk driverYou can’t argue with the reasons behind stronger ignition interlock laws, especially in states like Minnesota. They’ve had a serious problem with drunk drivers and drunk driving crashes for a long time, and because of the large Amish population in the state, it’s not just cars, trucks, and vans that have to worry about getting hit by a suspected drunk driver.

It happens more often than you might think: an Amish buggy is traveling down the road in the early hours of the evening when a car crashes into it from behind. When that happened in Clearwater County recently, the suspected drunk driver plowed straight into the back of the horse-drawn buggy, and because a buggy doesn’t have the built-in protection a vehicle has because it’s made of steel and glass, the passenger was killed and the driver was hospitalized with serious injuries. The horse was also put down.

The driver left the scene and was picked up shortly after, and police noted he had slurred speech and bloodshot eyes. He’s since been charged with criminal vehicular homicide. That’s a felony in Minnesota.

It’s for crashes exactly like these, however out of the ordinary it may seem to hear of a drunk driver hitting a buggy, that Minnesota toughened up their DWI laws to include an updated ignition interlock law. Alcohol-related crashes are responsible for one-third of all traffic deaths in the state, and an Amish horse-drawn buggy that shares the road with other vehicles is considered a part of that.

If you’re a first-time DWI offender in Minnesota and you blow 0.16 or higher on a breathalyzer at the time of arrest, you’ll be required to install an ignition interlock in your vehicle. Any second-time drunk driving offender will need to install an interlock for one to two years, and if you have three or more offenses you’ll be using your interlock for three to six years. If you have that many offenses on your record, the only alternate is never driving again.

All tragic crashes, whether they involve two vehicles or a horse and buggy, are exactly why Minnesota strengthened interlock laws. The next logical step to keep everyone in the state safe is to pass an all offender ignition interlock law that restricts suspected drunk drivers after a conviction at the .08 level.

Let’s hope that happens soon.

Staggering Number Of DUI Arrests In Colorado During Labor Day Weekend

DUI arrests in ColoradoNight or day, at three am in the morning or four pm in the afternoon, there are police on the roads arresting drunk drivers. It’s a steady business but some periods of time during the year are definitely busier than others, and if you asked Colorado police and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) when those busy times were, they’d tell you that summer always brings a rush of DUI arrests in Colorado.

During a recent enforcement campaign called “The Heat Is On,” Colorado police processed a shocking 1,184 DUI arrests. That number was up over last year’s 964 DUI arrests, and it shows that drunk drivers were out in full force all across Colorado on Labor Day weekend.

The number of drunk drivers may ease up a bit as fall kicks in, but that doesn’t mean the Colorado police are going to slow down enforcement. They have 14 periods of enforcement every year that include different campaigns, and they’ve kicked off a new fall campaign that will cover the period of time when college begins, football games become a weekly staple, and October festivities bring out the beer and the drunk drivers.

Along with constant enforcement, CDOT created another new campaign designed to get people to test their blood alcohol content (BAC) via personal breathalyzer.  They’ve also recently passed a felony drunk driving law that requires a stiff prison sentence for anyone who drinks and drives three or more times. It just took effect on August 5th, 2017, and those offenders must serve 90 days up to two years in jail depending on the circumstances of their sentence.

Put it all together and it’s easy to see that Colorado is a state that’s really trying to crack down on drunk drivers on the roads, but there’s one thing missing: stronger ignition interlock laws. If laws change to require longer ignition interlock terms for all offenders, drunk drivers in Colorado may not feel as tempted to get behind the wheel. Given how the state has pulled out all the stops to prevent DUI arrests in Colorado, a stronger ignition interlock program may be the next logical step.

Before You Get Arrested For DUI, Try An Interactive DUI Experience

Before you get arrested for DUIIf you’ve never made the decision to drink and drive, you might not comprehend how dangerous it is. Even if you’ve seen the PSAs, heard about a friend getting injured in a drunk driving crash, or know someone who’s been arrested for DUI, you may not understand how alcohol will impair your driving skills unless you find a way to try it yourself.

Thankfully you don’t have to take lives into your own hands by actually drinking and driving yourself; you can experience what it’s like to drive impaired virtually using a few online apps. Designed to stop people from driving drunk and subsequently getting arrested for DUI, these apps walk you through the feelings, situations, and outcomes of drinking and driving.

Responsibility.org Virtual Bar

The Virtual Bar helps you understand blood alcohol concentration (BAC). It will show you how your body reacts to and feels after drinking alcohol, and it takes into account what can happen to your BAC after eating, drinking water, and how long it takes to become completely sober again.

 NHTSA Last Call

Last call takes you on a virtual experience where you choose a cocktail lounge or sports bar. You’ll make other decisions too, including how many drinks to have and whether or not you’re going to get behind the wheel of your car and potentially be arrested for DUI.

These are just two impaired driving simulators you can try online to really understand how alcohol affects your driving skills. It’s far safer to do a quick run-through using one of these virtual experiences than it is to actually get behind the wheel of a car, so if you want someone you love to understand the impact of drunk driving, get them to pull out their smartphone or tablet instead of their car keys. You may be able to stop a tragedy before it happens.

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