IL Drunk Driving Fatalities down 43% in the 20 yrs since legal limit was lowered

According to this story in the Morris Herald, drunk driving related fatalities have dropped from 534 to 300, a decrease of 43%, since Illinois lowered its legal limit from 0.10 BAC to 0.08.

What the story doesn’t mention, is that during those years, Illinois has also made a great many changes to its drunk driving laws, greatly increasing the penalties for repeat drunk driving and requiring ignition interlocks for even first time offenders.  In addition, local municipalities began to impound (and sometimes forfeit) vehicles used in drunk driving and driving while suspended or revoked due to DUI cases.  Oftentimes, the impoundment fee alone is equivalent to several months car payments.

In addition to that, in the interim 20 years, there have been many social changes that have probably contributed to this drop, such as an increased awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving, a dramatic decrease in bars and drinking establishments, and a general increase in healthier lifestyles.

Having said that, I am sure that the drop to 0.08 made a significant difference.  It probably meant that many people passed on that extra drink or two that they might have had in 1996.  And that extra drink or two can make all the difference.

What do you think?

 

Chicago Police will be conducting DUI enforcement on the North Side Saturday night

According to a Press Report from the Chicago Police:

The Chicago Police Department will be conducting a DUI Saturation Patrol in the Lincoln (020th) District this weekend. The DUI Saturation Patrol will commence at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 12th, 2017 and end at 3:00 a.m. on Sunday, August 13th, 2017.  The purpose of this program is to saturate a pre-designated area with roving police officers that continually monitor vehicular traffic for signs of impaired driving. Patrols also place emphasis on speed, alcohol-related and safety belt
violations. Police vehicles equipped for speed detection are deployed to apprehend speeding violators.

 

From DNAInfo:

Police officers will be on the lookout for drunken drivers and speeders Saturday night during a DUI Strike Force Patrol planned for North Side neighborhoods including Lincoln Square, Uptown and Andersonville.

Officers will also be looking for people not wearing seatbelts and other violations.

The strike force patrol will run from 7 p.m. Saturday-3 a.m. Sunday, throughout the Lincoln Police District.

Headquartered at 5400 N. Lincoln Ave., the district is bounded by Lake Michigan, the Chicago River, Lawrence and Peterson avenues.

Communities served by the district include Lincoln Square, Uptown, Edgewater, Andersonville, Bowmanville and Budlong Woods.

Tiger Woods reaches plea deal reducing DUI to reckless driving

From NPR:

Tiger Woods pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a DUI charge stemming from his arrest in May, when police found him asleep at the wheel of his car in Jupiter, Fla.

But Woods is expected to plead guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving in October, reports Reuters. He will then likely enter a year-long probation program for first-time offenders involving DUI classes, community service and possible treatment. Successful completion would allow him to avoid a DUI conviction, reports the wire service, citing the prosecutor’s office.

Dave Aronberg, state attorney for Palm Beach County, says defendants in the program “accept responsibility for their actions” and “have their underlying substance abuse issues addressed.”

On Wednesday Woods did not appear at the North County Courthouse in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. His lawyer Douglas Duncan entered the not-guilty plea and did not answer the questions of reporters gathered there, says Reuters.

Woods was arrested in the early morning hours of May 29, after police found him unconscious in his parked Mercedes about 15 miles from home, reports The Associated Press. The car was damaged on the driver’s side but the officers who checked the area were unsure how the damage was incurred.

Police released dashcam video showing Woods stumbling and slurring his way through a field sobriety test.

In a statement issued later that day, Woods said, “What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly.”

According to the police report, the 41-year-old Woods said he had taken Xanax. He passed a breathalyzer test.

Elmhurst Police to conduct Roadside Safety Checks Saturday night

From the Patch:

On Saturday, Aug. 12, a roadside safety checkpoint will take place on a major roadway in Elmhurst, according to the release. The safety checkpoint will begin at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday night and continue until 3:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. During the safety checkpoint, vehicles will be stopped at a predetermined interval and checked for violations.

Arrest of college football star demonstrates that you can get a DUI even when not driving

People are often surprised to discover that you can get charged with a DUI even if you are not driving.  A good example was recently demonstrated by the arrest of Alabama star defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand, who was found by police sleeping in his vehicle.

From the Sporting News:

Alabama defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand was reportedly not driving his vehicle at the time of his DUI arrest on Saturday, according to a report from The Tuscaloosa News. He was asleep behind the wheel in his car, which was parked.

The Tuscaloosa News reports that the officer who arrested Hand found him at 4:30 a.m. in a parking lot near campus. Hand was sitting in the driver’s seat with the car’s headlights turned on and his vehicle cranked. The fact that his keys were in the ignition is what prompted his arrest.

In Illinois, the DUI statute (625 ILCS 5/11-501) states that “A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle within this State while…”  [under the influence of alcohol, drugs, etc.].

The Illinois Pattern Jury Instruction (I.P.I. 23.43) explaining “actual physical control” states as follows:  “The phrase “actual physical control” means that the defendant was in the vehicle and in a position to exercise control over the vehicle by starting the engine and causing the vehicle to move.”  Actual movement, or even having the ignition turned on, are not required; just the ability to do so.

This means that if you get into your car while intoxicated, but decide that instead of driving home that you will just stay put and try to sleep it off, you are in danger of being arrested for a DUI.

I have never agreed with this law.  What do you think?

Former Disney Child Star arrested for DUI in his Rolls-Royce

Brandon

From ET online:

Former Sonny With a Chance star Brandon Mychal Smith was arrested for driving under the influence on July 23, ET can confirm.

Smith was arrested in Burbank, California, at 7:40 a.m., and charged with a misdemeanor DUI. The 28-year-old’s bail was set at $15,000. He remained in custody for several hours before being released the same day.

TMZ reports that Smith was driving his Rolls-Royce in Burbank when he overshot a crosswalk at a red light. His blood alcohol level was reportedly at twice the legal limit.

Smith started his acting career at age 8 in a small role in She’s All That, before continuing on in roles on Phil of the Future, Sonny with a Chance, and So Random! He recently appeared in Dirty Grandpa, and has a recurring role on You’re the Worst and Sweet/Vicious.

CA teen who livestreamed drunk driving crash that killed her sister is charged

From the L.A. Times:

A California teen accused of driving drunk as she livestreamed a crash that killed her younger sister was charged Wednesday with half a dozen felony criminal offenses, including gross vehicular manslaughter, prosecutors said.

Along with a felony manslaughter while intoxicated charge, Obdulia Sanchez, 18, is facing another count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, according to the Merced County district attorney’s office.

She is also charged with two counts of driving under the influence resulting in injury and two additional counts of driving with a 0.08% blood alcohol content causing injury, the district attorney’s office said…

[The prosecutor Harold Nutt] said Sanchez, whose blood alcohol content was 0.10%, was not paying attention while driving. She was driving erratically and not holding the wheel, he said.

Nutt said the video “reflects some depravity and some stupidity.”

If Sanchez is convicted, she faces up to 13 years and eight months in prison, according to the district attorney’s office. She is being held in lieu of $560,000 bail.

The case received international attention after she recorded the moments before and after the crash on Instagram Live on Friday.

The Stockton resident filmed herself behind the wheel of a 2003 Buick as her 14-year-old sister, Jacqueline Sanchez, and a second 14-year-old girl sat in the back seat.

The California Highway Patrol said Sanchez was driving north of Los Banos when she swerved off the road and over-corrected her turn. She then veered across the road and crashed into a wire fence and her car rolled into a field.

The two girls in the rear seat, who were not wearing seat belts, were ejected from the vehicle, the CHP said.

Read the whole story here:  http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-california-teen-livestream-fatal-crash-charges-20170726-story.html