Archive for the ‘drinking and driving’ Category

Marines Corps Working to Curb Excessive Drinking

January 27, 2011
barracks cocktail liquor Afghanistan alcohol heavy drinking alcohol-dependent Marines into treatment Corps alcohol abuse dependence alcoholism armed forces Pentagon’s Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center and the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents arrested driving under the influence injuries killed binge drinking beer Camp Pendleton’s Consolidated Substance Abuse Counseling Center substance abuse treatment alcohol poisoning

23 year Lance Cpl. Sean Conley drank himself to death

 

The booze was flowing Halloween night in the Camp Pendleton barracks, but the party ended early for one young Marine overcome by potent cocktail “bombs” made of liquor and caffeinated energy drinks. Lance Cpl. Sean Conley, a 23-year-old helicopter mechanic, had been helped to his room by friends after he started feeling ill, his father said. But the Marine was later found on a bench on the barracks veranda, unconscious.  Results of toxicology tests revealed that Conley drank himself to death that night.

His family back in Green, Ohio, had been worried about the Marine’s impending deployment to Afghanistan. “The fighting going on, that was the biggest concern for us — that he would get his foot blown off,” his father Steven Conley said.  “We prayed for him a lot,” but when it came to his safety and welfare, “we never thought of alcohol,” Conley said.

Despite efforts in recent years to redefine a long-standing culture of heavy drinking and to force alcohol-dependent Marines into treatment, the Corps continues to struggle with alcohol abuse in its ranks. In the first half of 2010 and most of the three previous years, the Marine Corps had the highest rate of new cases of alcohol dependence or chronic alcoholism among all branches of the armed forces, according to a report by the Pentagon’s Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center and the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

Last year, nine Marines died in alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents, including seven who were at the wheel and two who were passengers, the Marine Corps reported.  One of the latest accidents this year claimed Lance Cpl. Andrew T. Tjhung, a 19-year-old Camp Pendleton Marine riding passenger with another Marine who was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. The last two fiscal years saw the highest numbers of alcohol-related injuries among Marines since 2005 — 114 incidents in 2010 and 118 in 2009, according to the Naval Safety Center. The good news is that the number of Marines killed or totally disabled in alcohol-related vehicular accidents peaked in 2007 at 22 and declined into the low teens in recent years, even as the size of the Corps swelled by 22,000 Marines.

Conley was a member of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing’s Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469. The air wing’s commanding general, Maj. Gen. Thomas Conant said through a spokesman that he views every alcohol-related incident as preventable.  The air wing uses a mentoring program and incentives to help units reduce alcohol-related incidents, as well as disciplinary actions against those who break the rules.

Even as binge drinking has become more prevalent among civilian youth, the Corps has tried to temper its long history of alcohol-soaked revelry. The days when commanders kept beer on ice for Marines to imbibe after long marches are over.  John Veneziano, a retired Marine and director of Camp Pendleton’s Consolidated Substance Abuse Counseling Center, said the staff saw about 2,100 clients last year for alcohol and substance abuse screenings, including about 36 a week who entered treatment.  That is a couple hundred more than their annual average before the war era began in 2001.

When the Corps flew the Conley family to San Diego County this winter, the helicopter mechanic’s buddies wanted to toast his passing with beers at a restaurant. Steven Conley raised his brew in the memory of his son. But he shook his head in disgust when he heard about the party that was to follow.“My son just died from alcohol poisoning, and they’re having a party afterwards to go out and get drunk?” he said. “That’s when it hit me. … They don’t even see it.”

And he is SO right.  They don’t see it which is why family members should insist that a Cleared2Drive unit be installed in their vehicle.

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30 Year Veteran Metro Boston Transit Authority Bus Drunk Fired After He Crashed Bus While Driving Drunk

January 25, 2011
30 year veteran bus driver Metro Boston Transit Authority MBTA drunk drunken driving injured drug and alcohol policy operating under the influence of alcohol police blood alcohol level legal limit drinking bottle vodka drove drunk substance abuse problem Cleared2Drive system sober

Metro Boston Transit Authority Bus Driver McCarthy Drove his Bus Drunk

A 30year veteran bus driver for the Metro Boston Transit Authority (MBTA) who was accused of being drunk after he hit a car with his bus has been fired.  After he allegedly drove his bus into a car stopped at a traffic light in Somerville, John McCarthy, 61, was charged with drunken driving Friday , Transit Police said. The only passenger on the bus and the driver of the car were not injured.

In a letter dated Jan. 23, MBTA General Manager Richard Davey wrote that McCarthy was in violation of the authority’s drug and alcohol policy and had been immediately discharged from his position.  McCarthy was charged with operating under the influence of alcohol.  He was released on personal recognizance at his arraignment Monday.

Police said that after the crash, McCarthy could not stand up straight, had trouble speaking and smelled of alcohol which is understandable given that court documents revealed he had a blood alcohol concentration of .155 percent — almost twice the Massachusetts legal limit of .08 percent.  Even though a bottle of vodka was found in his jacket pocket, McCarthy told police he had not been drinking.  “There was nothing in his employee record to suggest a problem,” MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said.

Does anyone believe that this was the first time he drove the bus drunk?  If you do, I have some ocean front property in Oklahoma I would like to sell you.  When are the transit authorities going to wake up and smell the alcohol (literally)?  More than 10% of all Americans have a substance abuse problem.  Do they really think that bus drivers, taxi cab drivers, semi drivers, are all exempt?  For less than the price of a set of tires, they could install a Cleared2Drive system on each bus and be assured that ALL their drivers are driving sober ALL the time.

Cost of a DUI or DWI Arrest – Cleared2Drive Prevents Impaired Driving

January 6, 2011

Arrested DUI jail bail bondsman attorney convicted criminal offense driving under the influence DUI offenders third driving while impaired DWI probation repeat ignition interlock devices IID breathalyzers arrest conviction IID insurance offense multiple convictions auto insurance court costs re-instating license repeat offender accident injury fatality lawsuit cocktails beers Cleared2Drive vehicle peace of mind drive impaired

If you are arrested for DUI, the fees start racking up the second the handcuffs get slapped on.

  1. While you’re being hauled off to jail; your car is being towed off to the impound lot and which police say costs a minimum of $150 and the clock starts ticking.  Everyday your vehicle is there the more your bill will be.
  2. Mostly likely you don’t want to stay in jail, so you will require the services of a bail bondsman which will cost you a minimum of $200.
  3. Now you will need a good attorney whose fees start at $2,500.   So by now you have racked up charges of at least $2,850 and you haven’t been convicted of any criminal offense, yet.

What most states require is after the first driving under the influence (DUI), offenders will pay a fine  up to a $2,000 or spend up to 6 months in jail or both.  Second offenders most likely will have to pay up to $4,000 and a third driving while impaired (DWI) could cost up to $10,000, not to mention a strong possibility that you will spend substantial time in jail.  If you are fortunate enough to get probation, it will cost you an enormous amount of time and money and it is extremely unlikely that probation will be granted.

First time offenders usually spend a year on probation and are required to take hours and hours of classes which cost between $50 -75 per class for first timers and around $300 for repeat offenders.  In addition more states are requiring that even first time offenders install embarrassing and humiliating to use ignition interlock devices (IID), better known as a breathalyzers.  If this is a repeat DUI or DWI arrest conviction, it is a given that you will have to install an IID in every vehicle you own/drive and it must remain there for multiple years which will run you a minimum of $70 dollars a month plus installation not to mention the monthly trips back to the installation facility to have your vehicle report downloaded and forwarded to your probation officer so they can track your progress. So now you are on probation for at least one year, which will cost you at least $840.

Next up on the list, DWI offenders have to give money to the state.  Every state has a surcharge that person is going to pay and that surcharge typically is a $1,000 for the next three years.  And then there’s your insurance, you can expect to watch your auto insurance jump up dramatically – most likely doubling – only if it is your first offense.  Multiple DUI or DWI convictions and the price becomes out of sight.  The national average for auto insurance this year is $1,566, so if your insurance is doubled you can expect to pay at least $3,132 per year. Plus, most states now require DWI offenders to register for a form which proves to the court they do have insurance. The average cost: an initial payment of $141 plus 5 monthly payments of $42.83.

And now just for good measure, there are a few more fees we must add in, like court costs which are usually at least $100. Don’t forget the cost for re-instating your license after a DWI, another $100, bringing the grand total for a first time offender to around $7,000, and for a repeat offender anywhere between $10,000 to $15,000 or more.  Keep in mind this is only if there is an arrest without involving an accident, injury, or fatality.  We won’t delve into what a lawsuit by anyone hurt by your actions will cost as that is a topic for another day.

And then after all this, let’s hope that you don’t lose your job, scholarship, or future job offer due your DUI arrest record.  Suddenly those cocktails or beers got extremely expensive.  For about 10% of the cost of a DWI, you can have a Cleared2Drive installed on your vehicle which will provide peace of mind to yourself and your loved ones knowing that you never be able to drive impaired.

When Does Moderate Drinking Turn Into A Problem?

December 28, 2010

Moderate Drinking Problem Health consumption Psychologist Will Corbin binge drinking alcohol abuse Arizona State University scientific laboratory cocktails bar alcohol problems problem drinkers Harvard epidemiologist Eric Rimm alcoholic Drink and Drive Cleared2Drive stop drinking and driving vehicle peace of mind impaired

 

Ever wonder when you reach for that third, or fourth, or fifth drink if maybe you’re pushing it? Well, you’re not alone.

How Much Is Too Much?

Health experts consider two drinks per day as a safe amount of consumption for men, and one drink per day as safe for women. Psychologist Will Corbin defines risky drinking as binge drinking, more than five drinks for a man and more than four drinks for a woman over a two-hour period.

Corbin says some people can probably drink within the range of safe drinking and binge drinking without getting into too much trouble. But others may be at higher risk for alcohol abuse if they get up to two, three, even four drinks per day.

At Arizona State University, Corbin is studying this gray zone of drinking to try to figure out who’s at risk for problems and who’s not. He does his research in a bar lab. It’s a scientific laboratory dressed up to simulate a bar environment, complete with dark floors, black ceilings, chandeliers, a flat-screen TV and rows of bottles behind the bar.

Who’s At Risk?

Volunteers come to the bar for one night only, fill out a questionnaire, and then they’re served three cocktails over a 30-minute period. Everyone is served the same drink of vodka mixed with 7-Up, cranberry juice and lime.

One of the questions Corbin wants to answer by observing and questioning these drinkers is whether their expectations about alcohol affect how much they actually drink. For example, for some people, just coming in to the bar lab affects their behavior before they’ve even had a thing to drink, says Corbin. “And people can observe that in the real world, too,” Corbin says. “If you go with a group of friends into a bar, before they’ve finished the first drink, often times they’re acting more social and talking more loudly.”

Once his research volunteers have consumed their three drinks, Corbin asks them how they’re feeling. Are they invigorated, for example? Do they feel excited or happy? Or do they feel a little depressed, dizzy, sleepy, and maybe even a bit sick? What Corbin is finding is that people who feel stimulated by alcohol are more likely to keep drinking if given the chance.

Other researchers are looking at known risk factors for alcohol problems, like family history and an impulsive personality. And eventually, researchers hope to have a full picture of what turns “moderate” drinkers into “problem” drinkers. Harvard epidemiologist Eric Rimm says, for example, that if you’re a child of a mother or father who’s an alcoholic, then maybe the healthiest amount of alcohol is zero.

Always Remember to Never Drink and Drive

What Cleared2Drive is finding is that people don’t know when it is safe to drive after they have had a drink or two or three or four.  For family members that don’t seem to be able to stop drinking and driving, there is help.  A Cleared2Drive system on your loved one’s vehicle will provide you with peace of mind knowing that never again will they be able to start their vehicle when they are impaired.

Studies find binge drinking on the increase

December 27, 2010

University of Texas School Public Health drinking alcohol study health surveys National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Dr. Raul Caetano dean university's Southwestern School of Medical Professions Gallup government surveys binge drinking driving under the influence of alcohol prevent impaired driving Cleared2Drive According to a report from researchers at the University of Texas School of Public Health the percentage of people drinking alcohol is the highest it has been since the mid-1980s, and binge drinking has also risen sharply.

The study looked at two national health surveys of adults (18 and older) in 1991-92 and 2001-02 by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and found that more people overall were drinking at the start of the millennium. More recent data were not available to the researchers. “The reasons for the uptick vary and may involve complex social and demographic changes to the population, but the findings are clear: More people are consuming alcohol than in the early ’90s,” said Dr. Raul Caetano, dean of the university’s Southwestern School of Medical Professions.

“Drinking” was defined during both survey periods as having consumed at least 12 drinks with at least 0.6 ounces of any kind of alcohol within the past year. Anyone who had consumed less than that much alcohol or said they never drank was classified as a nondrinker. By that definition, drinking was up 5% to 7% during that decade among men of all ethnic groups, so that 64% of white men, 60% of Hispanic men and 53% of black men were drinking. Among women, the rate rose by 8% to 9%, to 47% of whites, 32% of Hispanics and 30% of blacks. Those numbers seem to fit closely with a midsummer Gallup survey that found 67% of adults drank any alcohol at all, versus totally abstaining. That was the highest drinking rate since 1985.

The government surveys showed binge drinking — having more than five drinks in one day — increased among all ethnic groups and genders, but particularly among men. The share of white men who consumed five drinks a day at least once a week rose from 9% to 14%, and there was a similar increase among Hispanic men. Among women, whites are also more likely than other ethnic groups to binge drink.

All of this translates into more people driving under the influence of alcohol as well which we are seeing in other studies.  Other than total abstention, the only way to prevent impaired driving is to install a Cleared2Drive system on your vehicle.

Marijuana use up in teens – Alcohol use down

December 21, 2010

alcohol students binge drinking underage drinking laws Mothers Against Drunk Drive MADD survey positive influence substance abuse Cleared2Drive system prevent impaired driving under the influence DUI DWI arrest college scholarshipsAccording to the 2010 “Monitoring the Future” survey released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) the numbers are rising on marijuana use among young teens. Sixteen percent of surveyed eighth grade students in the U.S. reported using marijuana in 2010, compared to just over 14 percent last year. It appears that high school students are smoking more marijuana than cigarettes.

What accounts for the increase? Principal investigator Dr. Lloyd D. Johnston, research professor at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research believes many teens no longer see marijuana as dangerous. “The most visible influence in today’s culture that would explain such a change in perceived risk among teens is the extended national discussion about the desirability of medical marijuana use combined with the more recent discussion of legalizing it in California,” Johnston says.

And, marijuana use isn’t the only thing that’s up.  Increasingly more teens are also using Ecstasy. “I think it has been so long since the main Ecstasy epidemic, which peaked in 1991, that a lot of today’s teens never heard about some of the adverse consequences that were widely reported back then,” Johnston explains. He says NIDA has been warning for years that use of the drug could go back up, as young people become less aware of the dangers.

There is some good news in the survey, however. Alcohol use among teens is down substantially. Johnston points out that in 1999, 31% of 12th-grade students reported binge drinking. In 2010, that number decreased to 23%. Johnston thinks the decline is due in part to retailers doing a better job of cooperating with underage drinking laws.  He also believes that the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) ad campaigns, and the increase in minimum driving age has helped curb teen access to and interest in alcohol.

Some 56,000 8th, 10th, and 12th graders participated in this latest NIDA survey.

The declining numbers in alcohol abuse attest to the fact that parents and society can have a positive influence on curbing substance abuse among teens. Johnston urges parents to be proactive in communicating to kids the dangers of drug use. “Be sure that you indicate that you would be disappointed if they used drugs,” Johnston advises. “That’s a major deterrent to kids becoming involved with drugs.”  For parents that are concerned that their child might be susceptible to using either drugs or alcohol and then attempt to drive, they can install a Cleared2Drive system in their vehicle as Cleared2Drive does more than just prevent impaired driving, it also works as monitor for parents.  If their child can start their car one day but not the next – maybe after a night out with friends – then it could because they are under the influence.  Cleared2Drive’s Impairment Detection Technology also protects against a child getting a DUI or DWI arrest or into a car accident which can ruin their chances for college scholarships.

Wyoming is Unfortunately Losing their Battle Against Drunk Driving

December 19, 2010

intoxicated MADD Cleared2Drive dangers drunk driving drugged driving impaired driving Good2Gofatalities involving alcoholWyoming’s crash data suggests that drinking and driving contributes to more deaths and injuries on the road in the Cowboy State than safety advocates or any of the rest of us would like.  Of the 116 fatal crashes that happened in Wyoming in 2009, 55 people died because alcohol was a factor.  Of 3,361 injury crashes, 697 people were hurt because of alcohol.

Between 2005 and 2007, alcohol contributed to an average of 33% of the state’s highway fatalities, according to Wyoming’s 2009 Report on Traffic Crashes, released earlier this month. In 2008, that went up to 50%, and in 2009 it was 41%. While an odd year can really skew the numbers in a sparsely populated state like Wyoming, the five-year average for percentage of fatalities involving alcohol is 38.  According to Dee West Peterson, State Coordinator for Highway Safety at the Wyoming Department of Transportation which puts out the above report, “We’re not winning this battle”.

Too often, people think they can make it home safely when they are intoxicated, said Debbie Taylor, a MADD volunteer in Casper.”I do believe it is a cultural change that needs to take place,” she said and all of us at Cleared2Drive couldn’t agree more.  As we have stated many times, we have been educating people of the dangers of drunk driving for close to 30 years now and unfortunately many have not gotten the message.  It is going to take much more than education and the possibility of some sort of punishment to eradicate drunk driving or drugged driving or  impaired driving or whatever you want to call it in Wyoming or any other state.

Google Lightens its Restrictions on Alcohol Advertising

December 18, 2010

Google Cleared2Drive alcohol beer champagne wine  liqueur Inside Adwords blog Dan Friedman minor consumption of alcohol youth teens young adults parent drive drunk or impaired Cleared2Drive.comCleared2Drive is so very sorry to hear that Google has lightened its restrictions on the search engine marketing of alcohol products, revising their AdWords advertising policy for the first time in nearly two years.

As reported by Web Pro News, in 2008 Google allowed PPC ads promoting beer, champagne and wine products to run in its sponsored search results for the first time. Several months later it updated the policy once more to allow the promotion of spirit and liqueur brands, though direct retail promotions were still restricted – effectively, hard alcohol advertisers were limited to promoting websites with information about their brand, their products or related goods.

Now Google has relaxed their policy even further. Writing on the Inside Adwords blog, Dan Friedman of Google has announced that advertisers will now be able to use AdWords to “promote websites that sell hard alcohol online, direct users to retailers where their products are sold, or feature sales promotion.” “We’re constantly evaluating our advertising policies to ensure that they continue to be effective, and we made the decision to change our policy on alcohol to help more advertisers use AdWords for the promotion of their products,” he said.

There are several criteria for hard alcohol advertising on AdWords, which advertisers must comply with or face censure from the company:

  • Adverts must not be targeted at minors; not imply that consumption of alcohol can improve sexual, social or professional standing;
  • Not imply that drinking alcohol is relaxing or therapeutic;
  • Not imply that excessive consumption of alcohol is a positive activity;
  • Not contain sexual content;
  • Not include endorsements from any icons/people appealing to minors, including cartoon characters and athletes;
  • Feature a landing page with both an age verification gate and statements about responsible drinking.

While all this criteria setting makes for a good attempt at restricting youth, we all know that anything like this on the internet is going to make alcohol more appealing to our teens and young adults.  Every parent needs to be aware of Google’s change in policy and take precautionary measures to make sure their child doesn’t drive drunk or impaired.  For more information about how to take a pro-active measure to protect your child against impaired driving got to Cleared2Drive.com.