Archive for the ‘drunk driving’ Category

Drug Prescriptions Double for Teens and Young Adults Compared to 15 Years Ago

December 13, 2010

Cleared2Drive Good2Go drunk driving impaired driving  Breathalyzers Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) ignition interlock device Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Drunk DrivingTwice as many teens and young adults are getting prescriptions for controlled substances than had been 15 years ago, Reuters reported Nov. 29.

Investigators led by Robert J. Fortuna, MD, of the University of Rochester’s Strong Children’s Research Center in New York, assessed U.S. prescription trends for 15- to 29-year-olds based on 2007 survey data from more than 8,000 physicians, clinics, and emergency departments. They then compared results with similar data from 1994. Analysis revealed that more than 11 percent of teenagers received prescriptions for controlled medications (including Oxycontin, Vicodin, Ritalin, and sedatives) in 2007, up from 6 percent in 1994. A similar trend was seen for young adults, where the prescription rate for such drugs rose from 8 to 16 percent over the same time period.

As noted by Fortuna, the rise does not necessarily mean the drugs are being diverted or abused. However, teenagers and college students are much more likely than adults to use prescription drugs recreationally and to pass them on to others. “Physicians need to have open discussions with patients about the risks and benefits of using controlled medications, including the potential for misuse and diversion,” he said. “The nonmedical use of prescription drugs by adolescents and young adults has surpassed all illicit drugs except marijuana,” concluded the authors. “This trend and its relationship to misuse of medications warrants further study.” The article was published online Nov. 29 in the journal Pediatrics.

Studies like this reinforces what we at Cleared2Drive have been saying, we need to stop focusing on ways to eradicate “drunk driving” and focus on what is truly happening in our society which means we need to focus our efforts on eradicating “impaired driving.”  Breathalyzers and all the effort that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety(IIHS) is putting into developing their Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) technology will do nothing to stop someone under the influence of illicit drugs or prescription drugs (better known as  drugged driving) from operating a vehicle but Cleared2Drive’s ignition interlock device (IID) that is based upon their internationally patented Impairment Detection Technology will. Even Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) now admits that we need to stop focusing solely on “Drunk Driving” and put our efforts behind stopping “Impaired Driving”.

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How Taking Your Teen to Church can Prevent Underage Drinking

December 10, 2010

genetic tendency alcoholism teen family history drinking problems study University of Colorado Columbia University

If you are the parents of teens or children about to become teens, Cleared2Drive wants you to know that there is something that you can do that will greatly reduce their chances of becoming involved in alcohol and drugs: take them to church.  No, that’s not a faith-based opinion, there is actual research that shows that teens who are involved in religious or spiritual activities are less likely to do drugs or drink alcohol.

You may think that is a no-brainer, that teens who are religious are less likely to drink and drug compared to those who are not involved in religion, but what may surprise you is just how much difference it makes.

Teens involved in religious activities are half as likely to have substance abuse problems, according to several research studies.

Religion Deters Drug Use in Teens

A recent of 4,983 adolescents and their relationship with their parents found that those who were involved in religious activities were significantly less likely to become involved with substance abuse or have friends who are involved.

That same BYU research team conducted an earlier study in 2008 that found that religious involvement makes teens half as likely to use marijuana, a significant finding because marijuana is by far the most popular illegal drug among teens.

Overcoming Genetic Predisposition for Alcoholism

There is also research that shows that involvement in spiritual pursuits can even overcome a genetic tendency for alcoholism in teens who have a family history of drinking problems. A study conducted at the University of Colorado at Boulder of 1,432 twin pairs who had family histories of alcohol abuse revealed that genetic influence could be overcome.

The researchers found that “religiosity” exerted a strong enough influence over the behavior of adolescents to override their genetic predisposition for alcoholism. On the other hand, those twins who were nonreligious were much more influenced by genetic factors for problem alcohol use.

Teens Are Half as Likely to Drink

A study in 2000 at Columbia University found that teens who have an active spiritual life are half as likely to become alcoholics or drug addicts or even try illegal drugs than those who have no religious beliefs or training.

The Columbia study of 676 adolescents aged 15 to 19 found that teens with a higher degree of personal devotion, personal conservatism, and institutional conservatism were less likely to engage in alcohol consumption and less likely to engage in marijuana or cocaine use.

The authors of that study concluded that if teens do not find spiritual experiences within a religious setting, they will go “shopping” for them in other endeavors.

Religion Can Help High-Risk Teens

Also, teens who are at high risk for developing substance abuse problems — those who have a family history or who are influenced by social pressures — might be protected from substance dependence or abuse if they engage in spiritual or religious pursuits, research shows.

You may have noticed that the suggestion is to take your children to church, not send them. Of course, becoming involved in religious activities will not prevent all teens from using alcohol or drugs and some of the studies referenced here are limited in their scope, surveying white Christian teens rather than, say, inner-city youth. But there are no studies that say that taking your children to church makes them more likely to get involved with substance abuse.

The key seems to be to become more involved in your children’s lives and be a good example. The BYU study found that parents who are most involved with their children — those who monitor their activities as well as have a warm, loving relationship — are more likely to have children who do not drink heavily.

Become More Involved With Your Teen

But it is important to do both — emphasize accountability and have a warm, loving relationship.

Teens of “strict” parents who rated high on accountability but low on warmth, were twice as likely to binge-drink, the study found. Teens who had “indulgent” parents, who were rated high on warmth, but low on accountability, were three times more likely to binge-drink.

The bottom line for parents is to become more involved in your children’s lives and don’t be afraid of monitoring their friends and activities. And if you want to give them an extra layer of protection from becoming drawn into substance abuse, take them to church.

Sources:

Bahr, S.J., et al. “Parenting Style, Religiosity, Peers, and Adolescent Heavy Drinking.” Journal on Studies of Alcohol and Drugs. July 2010.

Bahr, S.J., et al. “Religiosity, Peers, and Adolescent Drug Use.” Journal of Drug Issues. October 2008.

Button, T.M.M, et al. “The Moderating Effect of Religiosity on the Genetic Variance of Problem Alcohol Use.” Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. June 2010.

How Your Parenting Style Can Prevent Teen Binge Drinking

December 9, 2010
cleared2drive mother yelling at teenager how to stop drunk driving how to stop binge drinking Researchers at Brigham Young University

What Parenting Sytle Do You Use?

If you are the parent of teenagers and you are concerned about them developing an alcohol problem, your parenting style may have more influence that you think. As promised, Cleared2Drive is dedicating this week to helping parents of teenagers.  As such, we uncovered a study of almost 5,000 adolescents has found that different styles of parenting produce significantly different results when it comes to heavy drinking by teens.

Parents may have little influence over whether their teens tried alcohol, but they can have a huge influence on whether or not they binge drink, the researchers found.

Researchers at Brigham Young University asked 4,983 adolescents between age 12 and 19 about their drinking habits and their relationship with their parents. As a result, the researchers identified four parenting styles:

  • Authoritative Parents – Rank high in discipline and monitoring (accountability) and high in support and warmth.
  • Authoritarian Parents – Rank high in control, but low in warmth and support.
  • Indulgent Parents – Rank high in warmth and support, but low in accountability.
  • Neglectful Parents – Rank low in support, warmth, and accountability.

The researchers, Stephen Bahr and John Hoffmann, describes accountability as parents “knowing where they spend their time and with whom” and describe support and warmth as parents who have a loving relationship with their teens.

Teen Less Likely to Binge Drink

It comes as no surprise that teens whose parents scored high on both accountability and warmth were less likely to binge drink:

  • Teens of authoritative parents were less likely to drink heavily compared with all the other parenting styles.
  • Teens with indulgent parents, who scored low on accountability but high on warmth, were nearly triple the risk of binge drinking.
  • Teens with strict parents, who scored high on accountability but low on warmth, were twice as likely to drinking heavily.

For the purpose of the study, heavy drinking was defined as having five or more drinks in a row during a relatively short period of time.

The researchers found that none of the parenting styles had significant differences in terms of their teens trying alcohol, but did influence the more risky binge drinking.

“The adolescent period is kind of a transitional period and parents sometimes have a hard time navigating that,” Bahr said in a news release. “Although peers are very important, it’s not true that parents have no influence.” The bottom line for parents is if you want to have a positive influence on your teen’s decisions regarding substance abuse, it takes work – having both accountability and support in your relationship with your adolescents.

The worse thing you can do is be neglectful in your parenting, the researchers concluded.

Source: Bahr, S.J., et al. “Parenting Style, Religiosity, Peers, and Adolescent Heavy Drinking.” Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. July 2010.

How a Good Relationship With Parents Can Prevent Teen Drinking Problems

December 8, 2010

How a good relationship with your teenager can prevent them from abusing alcohol and drugs Cleared2DriveAs evidence continues to mount that parents have a significant influence on whether their children develop substance abuse problems Cleared2Drive is committed to helping parents develop methods for keeping their children from using alcohol and drugs.  The most important thing you as a parent can do is develop a relationship with your teenagers in which they feel like they can discuss their problems with you and feel that you respect their feelings.  Doing this will increase the chances you can prevent them from developing alcohol problems.

A new study found that teens with a “strong relationship” with their parents have less risk of developing drinking problems.

A lot of research has shown that the age at which children begin drinking alcohol is a factor in whether or not the eventually develop alcohol abuse disorders and related problems, such as antisocial behaviors and school or work problems.

Lower Risk of Drinking Problems

A study of 364 teens by the Swiss Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Problems examined the relationship between early drinking age and the teenager’s relationship with their parents. The teens were questioned three times over a two-year period.

The lead researcher, Dr. Emmanuel Kuntsche, found that teens that reported an early drinking age during the first survey tended to be heavier drinkers during the second survey and were a greater risk for alcohol-related problems by the third time they were surveyed.

Those findings confirm earlier research. But Kuntsche also found that the only group that had a lower risk of drinking problems by the third survey were teens who reported both a later drinking age and a strong relationship with their parents.

Healthy Development

The researchers suggest that high-quality parent-child relationships can “trigger a spiral of healthy development during adolescence” that can lead to a lower risk of alcohol problems.

Kuntsche’s study, “The Earlier the More? Differences in the Links Between Age at First Drink and Adolescent Alcohol Use and Related Problems According to Quality of Parent-Child Relationships,” was published in the May 2009 edition of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

How to Keep Teens from Alcohol and Drugs

December 6, 2010

cleared2drive how to keep from teenagers drinking and driving how to stop impaired driving how to stop teenagers from using alcoholFor parents trying to keep their children away from alcohol and drugs during their formative years, there is good news — research shows that parents can have considerable influence on the decisions their teens make regarding substance abuse.

As part of  Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month we at Cleared2Drive are devoting this entire week to providing useful information to parents concerned about what they can do to keep their teenager from using drugs.  The following are the best tips for parents from the latest scientific research into why teens do and do not decide to drink alcohol or do drugs during adolescence.

A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that 45% of teenagers drink alcohol, and of those who drink, 64% admit to binge drinking. Not only is consuming five or more drinks in a row a dangerous practice itself, the CDC found that teen binge drinking is strongly associated with other risky behaviors, such as sexual activity and violence.

Parents Do Have Influence

As a result of the CDC report, New York University Child Study Center developed five tips for parents to use to curb teen binge drinking by maximizing the influence they have over their children’s decision-making.  “Contrary to popular belief, parents remain the greatest influence over their children’s behavior,” said Richard Gallagher, Ph.D., Director of the Parenting Institute and the Thriving Teens Project at the NYU Child Study Center, in a news release. “Though media and peers play a role, parental influence is critical and there are ways parents can maximize that influence to reduce the likelihood that their children will engage in binge drinking.”

Tips for Parents

Dr. Gallagher suggests these five tips to help parents curb teen binge drinking:

  • Clearly state what actions you expect your teen to take when confronted with substance use. Teens who know what their parents expect from them are much less likely to use substances, including alcohol.
  • Talk about the alcohol use that your children observe. Parents need to make it clear how they want their children to handle substances, such as alcohol and tobacco. Children need to have controlled exposure to learn the rules of acceptable use.
  • Help your teen find leisure activities and places for leisure activities that are substance-free. Then, keep track of where, with whom, and what your teen is doing after school and during other free times.
  • Limit the access your children have to substances. Teens use substances that are available. They report that they sneak alcohol from home stocks, take cigarettes from relatives, and obtain marijuana from people that they know well.
  • Inform teens about the honest dangers that are associated with alcohol use and abuse. Although teens are not highly influenced by such information, some discussion of negative consequences has some impact on the decisions they make. Especially emphasize how alcohol clouds one’s judgment and makes one more likely to be harmed in other ways.

According to the CDC, binge drinking is associated with unintentional injuries (such as car crashes, falls and burns), intentional injuries (firearm injuries and sexual assault), alcohol poisoning, sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy, among other health problems.

Sources:
Child Study Center, New York University School of Medicine, NYU Child Study Center Expert Recommends 5 Tips To Help Curb Teenage Binge Drinking . AboutOurKids.org. Accessed January 2007.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Quick Stats: Binge Drinking.” June 2006.

MADD Wants ‘DADSS’ to Stop Drunk Driving

December 3, 2010

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) people killed by drunk drivers Federal Highway Reauthorization Bill convicted of drunk driving ignition interlock device installed vehicles lock the ignition for drivers with a blood alcohol level legal limit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety DADSS technology blood alcohol concentration BAC Cleared2Drive's Impairment Detection Technology Alcohol Beverage Institute ABI Sarah Longwell organization National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA impaired driving Good2Go

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) can reasonably take the credit for halving the number of people killed by drunk driving each year from 21,000 in 1980 to about 11,000 in 2009. To appreciate how big an accomplishment that is, it’s helpful to remember that when MADD was founded in 1980, “it was legal to get behind the wheel and drink a beer in most states,” and drunk drivers “rarely received more than a fine,” according to The Dallas Morning News.

MADD celebrated its 30th anniversary in a big way: it launched an effort that will — it hopes — virtually eliminate drunk driving. First, it wants Congress to amend the Federal Highway Reauthorization Bill to require that people convicted of drunk driving must have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles. This is already law in 12 states. Second, MADD wants Congress to authorize $60 million over five years to pay for the development of a device that would lock the ignition for drivers with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety — yes, that spells DADSS – might save 8,000 lives every year, once the technology is perfected. While their device is expected to take several years to finish, and might use infrared light sensors or scan driver’s fingers to assess the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level, Cleared2Drive’s Impairment Detection Technology is available now.

The Alcohol Beverage Institute (ABI) objects to its plan to put DADSS in all cars. “They are no longer a mainstream organization,” said the Institute’s managing director, Sarah Longwell. “Many of their policies are extremely fringe at this point.”  While it might seem ludicrous to paint an organization founded by a mother whose 13-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver as “extremely fringe,” the Institute does sound a bit desperate as well they should: “When they talk about alcohol sensing technologies, ultimately what it does, it eliminates people’s ability to drink anything before driving,” Longwell said. “It’s not about drunk driving anymore, it’s about trying to demonize any drinking prior to driving.”

We at Cleared2Drive believe ABI’s point is very valid.  It is one thing to have a glass of wine with dinner and it quite another to sit at a bar for hours on end and get blitzed.  What MADD and DADSS are both missing is the distinction between drinking and being impaired because it comes at different points for everyone.  What DADSS is trying to create is a one size fits all and we all know that just doesn’t cut it.  What they should be considering is how person gets impaired – from 1 drink or 10 drinks, or by swallowing a hand full of prescription pills, or drinking 2 bottles of NyQuil, or by smoking meth – is what we should be really concerned about.  We need technology installed in vehicle that can make the critical determination of what is truly important . . . IS THE VEHICLE OPERATOR IMPAIRED?

Cleared2Drive understands that MADD said it isn’t trying to outlaw drinking — just drunk driving. Which is not a bad thing but given that more than 11,000 people a year still die in crashes related to drunk driving, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) just released results from its latest study showing that more than 1/3 of all drivers killed have drugs in their system, we need to move away from trying to detect “drunk driving” and focus on the broader picture of “impaired driving” as that is the key to saving lives.



Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Recommends Increased Usage of Ignition Interlock Systems

November 17, 2010

Cleared2Drive alcohol-related crashes alcohol-impaired driving motor vehicle crashes traffic-related deaths CDC’s research and program Center for Disease Control CDC blood alcohol concentration (BAC) ignition interlocks programs Task Force on Community Preventive Services FBIImpaired Driving

Every day, 32 people in the United States die, in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 45 minutes.1 The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $51 billion.2 But there are effective measures that can help prevent injuries and deaths from alcohol-impaired driving.

How big is the problem?

  • In 2008, 11,773 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (32%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.1
  • Of the 1,347 traffic fatalities among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2008, about one out of every six (16%) involved an alcohol-impaired driver.1
  • Of the 216 child passengers ages 14 and younger who died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2008, about half (99) were riding in the vehicle with the with the alcohol-impaired driver.1
  • In 2008, over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.3 That’s less than one percent of the 159 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults each year.4
  • Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths. These other drugs are often used in combination with alcohol.5

What are CDC’s research and program activities in this area?

Ignition interlock programs recommended
Ignition interlocks are installed in vehicles to prevent operation by anyone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above a specified safe level (usually 0.02% – 0.04%). CDC reviewed the effectiveness of ignition interlocks programs to reduce alcohol-impaired driving recidivism and alcohol-related crashes.  The review, conducted on behalf of the Task Force on Community Preventive Services, drew on findings from a 2004 review conducted by Willis, Lybrand and Bellamy (Willis 2004). It concluded that ignition interlocks are associated with a median 70% reduction in re-arrest rates for alcohol-impaired driving. Based on strong evidence of the effectiveness of interlocks in reducing re-arrest rates, the Task Force recommended that ignition interlock programs be implemented. They also noted that the public health benefits of the intervention are currently limited by the small proportion of offenders who install interlocks in their vehicles. More widespread and sustained use of interlocks among this population could have a substantial impact on alcohol-related crashes.

  • Related Articles:
    Guide to Community Preventive Services. Reducing alcohol-impaired driving: ignition interlocks. [cited 2009 Nov 6]. Available at URL: www.thecommunityguide.org/mvoi/AID/ignitioninterlocks.htmlExternal Web Site Icon

    Willis C, Lybrand S, Bellamy N. Alcohol ignition interlock programmes for reducing drink driving recidivism. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2004, Issue 3.

References

  1. Dept of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Traffic Safety Facts 2008: Alcohol-Impaired Driving. Washington (DC): NHTSA; 2009 [cited 2009 Nov 3]. Available at URL: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811155.PDF
  2. Blincoe L, Seay A, Zaloshnja E, Miller T, Romano E, Luchter S, et al. The Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2000. Washington (DC): Dept of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); 2002. Available at URL: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/staticfiles/DOT/NHTSA/Communication & Consumer Information/Articles/Associated Files/EconomicImpact2000.pdf Adobe PDF fileExternal Web Site Icon
  3. Department of Justice (US), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Crime in the United States 2008: Uniform Crime Reports. Washington (DC): FBI; 2009 [cited 2009 Nov 5]. Available at URL: http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2008/data/table_29.htmlExternal Web Site Icon
  4. Quinlan KP, Brewer RD, Siegel P, Sleet DA, Mokdad AH, Shults RA, Flowers N. Alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults, 1993-2002. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2005;28(4:346-350.
  5. Jones RK, Shinar D, Walsh JM. State of knowledge of drug-impaired driving. Dept of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); 2003. Report DOT HS 809 642.

Ignition Interlock Summit Helps States in the Fight Against Drunk Driving

November 16, 2010

Last year, 10,839 people died because of alcohol-related car crashes.

Although this number declined 7.4 percent from 2008 to 2009, none of these deaths ever should have happened. And even a single death due to drunk driving is one too many.

Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Centers for Disease Control met with members of the Governors Highway Safety Association for a National Ignition Interlock Summit. This was a full-day work session to help state safety professionals figure out how to get a handle on drunk driving.

Impaired driving is involved in 32 percent of all crashes on American roads. But an ignition interlock system that blocks a convicted drunk driver’s vehicle from starting when that driver is impaired can prevent many of those crashes and save lives.

In 2006, MADD launched a Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, calling for increased use of ignition interlocks for impaired driving offenders. The Department of Transportation has been a strong supporter of this campaign, and in the last four years, interlock use has more than doubled from approximately 100,000 in 2006 to 212,000 in 2010.

But that covers only a small percentage of the 1.4 million drunk drivers arrested last year in the US.

Today, all states except Alabama and South Dakota have laws that authorize ignition interlock use for at least some offenders. Yet we know that one-third of those 1.4 million arrests involve repeat offenders, and we know that many fatal drunk driving crashes also involve repeat offenders.

 

MADD DOT NHTSA CDC Ignition interlock system impaired driving alcohol-related car crashes US Department of Transportation

Alcohol Related Traffic Fatalities per State

That’s why 13 states have passed mandatory ignition interlock laws for all drunk drivers–including first offenders.

And that’s why DOT is providing technical assistance and support to help states move toward increasing their interlock use and strengthening their laws and interlock programs.

As I said in September, when I announced the drop in drunk driving deaths, our roads are the safest they’ve ever been. But, to make America’s roads even safer, we are committed to continuing our vigorous fight against drunk driving. Ignition interlock systems are a critical part of that fight, and I urge states to make the best use of this valuable tool.

Reprinted from the US Department of Transportation

Doctors Say Alcoholic Energy Drinks Dangerous

November 9, 2010

Cleared2Drive four locoSome doctors say drinks that combining alcohol with caffeine should be banned because they’re dangerous, ABC News reported Oct. 20.

Marketed in large, colorful cans under names like Four Loko, Joose, and Torque, the drinks are popular among college students. The 23.5-ounce canned drinks can contain 12 percent alcohol and 156 milligrams of caffeine, and have encountered increasing criticism. Attorneys general in more than one state are concerned that they’re being marketed to minors, a New Jersey college banned them, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is deciding whether or not the drinks are legal.

Dr. Robert McNamara, who directs the emergency medicine department at Temple University, recently encountered his first-ever case of a healthy 19-year-old whose heart attack seemed to be linked to consuming alcoholic energy drinks. “This is a dangerous product from what we’ve seen,” McNamara said, who said other doctors had told him about similar cases. “It doesn’t have to be chronic use. I think it could happen to somebody on a first time use.”

“I’m mad as hell,” said Doctor Mary Claire O’Brien of Wake Forest University. “These drinks are not safe.”  O’Brien, who is a professor of emergency medicine and public health, recently completed a study that showed that consuming alcohol with caffeine was more harmful than drinking alcohol alone. Those who consumed both were at least two times as likely — compared to those drinking alcohol without caffeine — to be hurt, need medical attention, take sexual advantage of another, or accept a ride with someone who was inebriated.

“They can’t tell that they’re drunk,” O’Brien explained. “What this behavior gets is a wide awake drunk.”

The FDA has said that, under regulations governing food additives, caffeine can’t be mixed with alcohol. It is currently evaluating whether the drinks should remain legal, but no deadline has been set for a decision.  “FDA intends to evaluate the information submitted by the manufacturers and other available scientific evidence as soon as possible in order to determine whether caffeine can be safely and lawfully added to alcoholic beverages,” said Michael Herndon, a spokesman for the FDA.

Phusion Projects, which manufactures Four Loko, told ABC News, “No one is more upset than we are when our products are abused or used unlawfully. But Four Loko is neither the sole contributor to alcohol abuse, nor will additional restrictions on it solve the problem.”



Another School Bus Driver Charged with Drunken Driving

November 4, 2010

Dinah Lynn Patterson McGlothlin drunk school bus driver

By my calculation,  63-year-old Knox County school bus driver, Dinah Lynn Patterson McGlothlin, charged Tuesday morning with drunken driving is the latest in a long string of school bus drivers charged with impaired driving already for this school year.  We have documented at least nine (9) incidents already and we are only in the third month of the school year!

Dinah Lynn Patterson McGlothlin was charged after a crash at a traffic light where a box truck was stopped, said Knoxville Police Department spokesman Darrell DeBusk.

Officers charged McGlothlin with drunken driving and reckless driving. DeBusk said McGlothlin submitted to a field sobriety test and then was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center for a blood test.

McGlothlin was driving bus 360 at the time of the 6:26 a.m. crash. She was en route to begin picking up preschool children for Cedar Bluff Elementary School. She also transports special education children for Hardin Valley Academy, DeBusk said.

Witnesses told police the bus, which has a capacity of about 20 students, had driven up on the curb of the road and nearly struck another vehicle at least twice before the impact.

The bus slammed into a food-delivery box truck stopped at the end of the ramp from Interstate 40 East to Cedar Bluff Road, authorities said. No one was injured in the crash, DeBusk said. Both vehicles were driven from the scene. The box truck was driven by Steven Hodges, 40, of Sevierville, DeBusk said. Hodges was driving for Five Star Foods in Alcoa.

DeBusk said there was no evidence of alcohol on the bus. “She had some items in her pockets, but we’re not sure if that’s what led to her condition,” he said.  DeBusk said it appears the driver was impaired by pills and alcohol.

Are you as scared for our kids as I am?