Posts Tagged drunk driving
They say too much alcohol in the body leads to an impaired vision and sense of direction. It wasn’t until a recent study that the degree of impairment was measured.
A team of researchers from the Western University and the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry in Canada revealed that their study confirmed up to 30% impairment in vision as a result of drinking alcohol beyond the legal limit. In Canada and majority of states in the U.S., the limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08%.
Results of the study were significant: participants who had BAC levels near the limit observed a 30% reduction in contrast between the squares and the dark circles. In other words, people who engage in drunk driving might have difficulty telling the difference between light and darkness. “This is obviously important when you are driving at twilight, when objects are more difficult to see and more difficult to discriminate, even without alcohol,” study co-author Brian Timney said in a news release.
Timney and Kevin Johnston, proponents of the study, used a rather simple and safe approach to determine the visual malfunction: the Hermann Grid. The illusion, as described by Johnston, is “a grid of black squares on a white background. You see ghost-like dark spots at the intersections of the grid, but they are not actually there. It’s the way our visual system processes contrast or brightness differences that creates the illusion.” Here is how the Hermann Grid looks like:
Respondents were asked to drink alcoholic beverages until just below the legal BAC limit, then look at the grid for observations on the invisible dark circles between the black squares.
The rule of thumb is to never drink when you’re driving or drive when you’re drinking. But new analysis by a non-profit organization showed highway accidents do not make up most of the deaths associated with underage drinking.
According to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), only 32 percent of all deaths related to underage drinking involved traffic accidents; the remaining 68 percent have been associated with homicides, suicides, alcohol poisoning, and other causes of death.
MADD used 2010 data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to understand the different and more prominent causes of deaths among underage drinkers and find possible ways to minimize these risks.
“These data show that taking away the keys truly does not take away all of the risks when it comes to underage drinking,” MADD National President Jan Withers said in a news release. “MADD hopes this information will inspire parents to have ongoing conversations with their kids about the dangers of drinking alcohol before age 21, especially since we know that a majority of kids say their parents are the biggest influence on their decisions about alcohol.”
For more than 30 years, MADD has been at the forefront of stopping drunk driving, supporting the victims of this violent crime, and preventing underage drinking. The organization, together with the National Presenting Sponsor Nationwide Insurance, launched the Power Talk 21 campaign — the national day, observed on April 21, for parents to start talking with their kids about the perils of irresponsible alcohol use and abuse.
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer revealed that too many New Yorkers are driving under the influence of prescription drugs, with an increase of 35% in drugged driving arrests in New York state since 2001. In 2009, 10.5 million Americans admitted they had taken the wheel while on drugs.
While these numbers are still low compared to drunk driving arrests, the dangers of drugged driving are just as real. Without the proper tools, though, what the cops can do to catch drugged drivers is very limited.
“If people next year knew that they’d be tested for drugged driving just like they are tested for drunk driving, it might deter them from doing it to begin with and save lives,” Schumer said.
This is why he is pushing for legislation that would provide $140 million research and training funding to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, in order to develop tests that cops can use to detect drugged drivers as well as to train cops to use any new technology.
Current tests being used by cops can detect alcohol intoxication. There is presently no device or test used by cops that can detect drugged drivers.
“Our cops need state-of-the-art equipment and better training to identify and apprehend those who are putting innocent victims at risk,” he added.
The holidays usher in a number of celebrations and events to spread the holiday cheer. During parties and gatherings of friends and family, alcohol becomes a big part of the event. If you can’t help having some in your own party, you could at least ensure that your guests are safe and away from the risks of figuring in alcohol-related accidents.
Here are some ways suggested by the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information on how to keep your holiday parties safe for you and your guests:
1. Once you get the event rolling, have some games and activities that will require the participation of everybody. This will at least keep your guests’ minds off the alcohol.
2. Food should be abundant to avoid having guests drink on empty stomachs. Alcohol’s potency can increase on people who drink without food intake. Avoid salty foods too as this could make them thirsty.
3. Do not let children serve alcoholic drinks nor allow minors to consume alcoholic beverages. Never mix alcohol to any drink that kids might consume. As much as possible, you must keep alcoholic beverages away from carbonated drinks or fruit juices that kids can have.
4. An hour before your party ends, control or minimize the amount of alcohol you serve. It would be better if you absolutely stop giving your guests alcohol at this time.
5. Have a list of cab companies in your area so that guests who are too drunk to drive can take a cab home. You may also offer to drive them home if you are not intoxicated yourself.
6. If there should be anybody in the group who insists on driving despite being obviously too drunk to do so, seek the help of other guests to get some sense into him. If this doesn’t work, you can temporarily disable their car, or you can ask for police intervention.
We’ve always heard that we should not drink and drive. If you had a drink too many, you should hand your car keys to a sober driver — but that does not mean you can hand the keys to your 9-year-old child.
Earlier this month, Brownstown Township Police pulled a big red van over, and was surprised to see a 9-year-old girl on the driver’s seat.
Shawn Weimer, 39, from Brownstown Township, Michigan, allowed her 9-year-old daughter to drive because he was too drunk to manage the wheel. He was even bragging about it when the girl parked the car to get some gas. The father was stumbling as he walked and his words were slurred, according to the clerk who was on duty at the pump that time.
The girl was seated on a booster and was in command of the pedals and even her signal lights. When police pulled her over, she asked why when she was “driving good.”
A concerned citizen, who saw the incident, followed the car after he made the call to the police to ensure that they would be able to catch the vehicle and pull it over immediately.
“And, in fact, as heinous as this is, the little girl looks at the police officer and says, ‘What did you stop me for? I was driving good.’ Incredible. Obviously, the officer told her she was too young to drive.”
Police further stated that this was not the first time that the girl had driven.
It was later found out that the parents of the girl were divorced and that she was spending the weekend with her dad. The father told police he was just teaching her daughter how to drive, and then refused to take a breathalyzer test. The father apparently had too much whiskey to drink that night.
The irresponsible dad will be facing a felony child abuse charge based on everything that took place.
A family in Iowa City has filed charges against a restaurant which served drinks continuously to their son and to his friends leading to their son’s death by vehicular accident.
The Onsgard family is suing C.J. Business, Inc., the company that operates Wildwood Smokehouse and Saloon along 4919 Walleye Dr. S.E., Iowa City. They submitted their documents at the Johnson County District Court last September 30.
It was in July last year when their son Jason, 27, and his fiancée Rebecca Frea, and their companions Heather Althiser, and Joseph Vinopal, all died in a car accident at the Herbert Hoover Highway. Jason was driving a 2009 Nissan Altima and was heading west towards Iowa City when he failed to maneuver the vehicle on a curve which caused the car to roll into a ditch along the highway killing Jason and his friends.
The group was said to be celebrating the engagement of Onsgard and Frea during that day.
A farmer was checking his fence on the morning of July 25 when he discovered the scene of the accident. Onsgard, Frea, and Vinopal were all ejected from the vehicle when the crash happened.
The lawsuit filed focused on the allegation that the restaurant, Wilwood Smokehouse and Saloon, served alcoholic drinks continuously to Jason’s group without taking the initiative to check whether Jason and his friends were already too intoxicated. Employees of the restaurant “should have known” that their customers were already too drunk.
The family is seeking damages resulting to the death of their son and the costs of bringing the case to the courts from the C.J. Business Inc. The restaurant owners have yet to air their side on the issue.