Texting While Driving will become a moving violation next month

From the Daily Herald:

Illinois’ law banning driving and texting is now five years old, and drivers caught violating it will face a stiffer penalty as of July 1.

Scofflaws who text, talk or use any hand-held devices behind the wheel will receive a ticket for a moving violation. Three moving violations in a 12-month period will lead to a license suspension…

To clarify, it’s also illegal to text or talk while holding a device at a stop sign, at a red light or while sitting in traffic.

What if I just take a second to do something with my phone?

Not OK, said Aurora police Sgt. Bill Rowley.

“In the amount of time it takes to simply look down and check a text — if your car is traveling 40 mph — it has already traveled half the length of a football field,” said Rowley, Aurora’s public information officer. That means “if a child runs out on the road, there’s no time to touch your brakes.”

Drivers can pull over on the shoulder, put the car in park and use their devices. Exceptions to the law include reporting an emergency, and if normal traffic is stopped because of an obstruction such as an accident or train — and the car is in park.

Read the entire story here at:  https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20190617/starting-july-1-no-more-free-passes-for-texting-or-holding-your-phone-at-all-and-driving

Illinois Police are “incredibly unprepared” to deal with marijuana DUI cases

From the State Journal-Register:

Illinois law-enforcement officials are “incredibly unprepared” for the potential upswing in impaired driving that could result from legalization of recreational use of marijuana.

That view of the impact of House Bill 1438 came from a Chicago-area police officer spearheading a pilot program to develop a roadside chemical test for marijuana.

Sgt. Brian Cluever, director of traffic safety at the Carol Stream Police Department, said technology to accurately check saliva for cannabis-related impairment and support driving-under-the-influence cases in courts is months and potentially years away in Illinois and other states.

And unlike alcohol, there’s no breath test for marijuana.

In addition, Cluever said it’s unclear how much it will cost and how long it will take to train more Illinois police officers on how to interview people and conduct field sobriety tests for marijuana. The field tests for pot are different from alcohol but still can be used to arrest and charge drivers with marijuana-related DUI.

Those various challenges will put police in a “tough spot,” Cluever said last week. “We won’t be ready by Jan. 1, 2020.”

But the saliva testing program that the Carol Stream Police Department began using in early 2018 for marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, opiates and other drugs has slowed because problems with the testing equipment prompted the department to change suppliers, Cluever said.

Testing with equipment from a new supplier began only this year, and the equipment isn’t sensitive enough detect the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, down to the legal limit in Illinois — 10 nanograms per milliliter in saliva, he said. The equipment is sensitive only to 40 nanograms, he said.

Illinois’ legal limit for THC in blood for drivers is 5 nanograms/ml.

A trial of saliva-testing equipment in Michigan could detect THC no lower than 25 nanograms/ml. A February report on the Michigan pilot program said results were encouraging but that more study was needed.

A 2017 report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration highlighted the challenges facing law enforcement.

The report said surveys show there was a 48 percent increase in the prevalence of drivers testing positive for THC at any level from 2007 to 2013-14, with 8.6 percent positive in 2017 and 12.6 percent positive in 2013-14.

At the same time, the report said the percentage of drivers testing positive for alcohol at any level declined from 12.4 percent in 2007 to 8.3 percent in 2013-14.

The report pointed out that the driving risks posed by alcohol use have been well known for decades, while “relatively little” is known about the risks posed by marijuana and other drugs.

There’s evidence that marijuana “impairs psychomotor skills, divided attention, lane tracking and cognitive function,” but “its role in contributing to the occurrence of crashes remains less clear,” the report said.

Read the entire article here:  https://jg-tc.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/police-unprepared-for-pot-impaired-drivers-in-illinois-law-enforcement/article_00eecec7-319e-55f8-89b5-038655963b02.html

Aldon Smith arrested for DUI (again)

Former NFL star Aldon Smith has been arrested for another DUI.  I last posted about him when he was arrested for his third DUI.

From ESPN.com:

Aldon Smith was arrested Monday night in Kansas on suspicion of driving under the influence, the latest offense for the talented but troubled former San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders defensive end.

Smith, 29, was arrested after police in Mission, Kansas, stopped his vehicle for a traffic violation.

Mission Police Department spokesman Capt. Kevin Self told the Kansas City Star that Smith was issued citations and was picked up by a friend.

Smith, a first-round pick of the 49ers in 2011 and a first-team All-Pro in 2012 who had 44 sacks in his first three seasons, has had several run-ins with the law. He has been arrested on DUI charges multiple times in the past.

 

Off-Duty Chicago Police Officer involved in fatal DUI Crash

From CBS-Chicago:

CHICAGO (CBS) — An off-duty police officer has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after his car crashed into a restaurant, killing one person in Gresham.

Marquita Reed, a nurse and mother of two, died after she was pinned underneath the car that crashed into Tony’s Philly Steak, in the 1700 block of west 87th Street…

Reed, 34, was sitting inside Tony’s Philly Steak restaurant when she was pinned underneath the car. She was pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Hospital from her injuries.

Another woman inside the restaurant suffered a leg injury, and the driver suffered a neck injury.

Chicago police said the off-duty officer is 24 years old and had been on the force for three years. The off-duty officer told police he was driving east on 87th Street when another car heading west turned in front of him, and he swerved to avoid the vehicle. The off-duty officer made a sharp turn, jumped the curb, and hit the building.

“It happened so fast that I don’t even think he had time to hit the brakes,” said Jerrell Desmond, who witnessed the crash.

Police said the officer had a blood alcohol level of .083, just over the legal limit.

Read the entire story here:  https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2019/06/09/off-duty-officer-charged-with-dui/

How the new Illinois Marijuana Legalization laws will affect you

Beginning January 1, 2020, you will be able to possess of up to 30 grams of cannabis, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate or 500 milligrams of THC without violating Illinois state law.

Under the law you will have to purchase your cannabis from approved dispensaries.  You cannot grow it on your own unless you are a medical marijuana cardholder, and even then, you will be limited to 5 plants.  You will not be able to legally purchase marijuana from a street dealer.

You also cannot use marijuana in public places.  You will have to use it at home, and even then, discretely.  You can’t sit on your porch where neighbors can see you toking.

The change will not effect our current DUI law, which still makes it a crime to drive while either impaired due to cannabis or with 5 nanograms or more of THC in one’s blood or 10 nanograms in any other bodily substance (i.e., urine or saliva).   This means that I suggest that you do not drive for several hours after using marijuana, probably not until the next day after a full night’s sleep.

Also, the change in the law does not mean that employers cannot still fire you for failing a drug test showing that you were positive for cannabis.  Illinois is an “at will” state, meaning that an employer can fire you “at will” for just about any reason (except when in violation of civil rights or contract).

Finally, this change only affects Illinois law.  You could still be arrested and charged by Federal officers.  This is most likely to happen while on Federal property, whether a Federal building such as a courthouse, post office, or other governmental building,  on Federal land or on the lake by the Coast Guard.

Here are some articles with further information about the new law:

Chicago Sun-Timeshttps://chicago.suntimes.com/cannabis/2019/5/31/18647868/marijuana-illinois-legalization-where-to-buy-amount

Chicago Tribunehttps://www.chicagotribune.com/news/breaking/ct-met-cb-legal-marijuana-illinois-20190531-story.html

NBA ref Ronald Garretson arrested for DUI

From the Artesia Daily Press:

Police say an NBA referee has been arrested in Arizona on suspicion of driving while intoxicated after he crashed a vehicle into a tree.

The Arizona Republic reports Ronald Garretson was arrested following a collision Wednesday night in Lake Havasu City.

Police say the 60-year-old Garretson showed signs of impairment and was booked into jail on a count of extreme driving under the influence after a field sobriety test.

A judge set bond at $4,500.

The National Basketball Referees Association website says Garretson is an NBA referee who has officiated almost 2,000 games over the past 31 seasons.

NBA spokesman Mike Bass says the league is gathering information on the case.

It was not known if Garretson had an attorney.

Former Jet, Packer Mo Wilkerson arrested for DUI

From the NY Daily News:

Former New York Jets defensive lineman Muhammad (Mo) Wilkerson was busted for drunk driving early Saturday after he was caught rolling through a stop sign in Washington Heights, officials said.

Wilkerson, 29, was driving a 2019 Rolls Royce Suburban when he was pulled over on Riverside Drive and W. 168th St. at about 3:40 a.m., cops said.

Police were about to give him a ticket, but realized he was drunk behind the wheel.

According to court documents, Wilkerson told the cops, “I had a shot and two beers.”

He was charged with drunk driving after failing a breathalyzer test, scoring .09, a hair over the legal limit.