Archive for the ‘impaired 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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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.

Treatment vs Jail: Portugal’s Success

January 5, 2011

drugs problem addicted arresting addiction illegal jail treatment counseling Portugal flag government addicts abuse drug-related court crime problem public health drug-using criminals ignition interlock device Cleared2Drive relapsing

The United States has been fighting the war on drugs for decades now and there seems to be no end in sight which bring to mind the old proverb about the definition of insanity – “Doing the same thing the same way and expecting a different result.’  Well I think it is time we start doing things differently and here is a good example of where we should start.

Big Risk, Big Reward

Ten years ago, Portugal had a big drug problem. 100,000 people, or about 1% of the population, were addicted to drugs. Portugal found itself in the never-ending cycle of arresting drug criminals, prosecuting them, and then after their sentence was complete finding them back on the streets again. It’s one of the main problems countries face when trying to end drug addiction and the crimes that so often are associated with it.

In 2000, Portugal passed a law that decriminalized the use of all illegal drugs. Drugs are still illegal in Portugal, but instead of throwing someone in possession of drugs to jail, it sends them to treatment or counseling. Portugal wrote it into law that anyone caught with illegal drugs instead of being charged with a criminal offense will go directly to a “Dissuasion Committee” for counseling and further treatment if necessary.

It’s not a new concept, but it is one that is difficult to carry out. How does a government take the first step and say that citizens aren’t going to get in trouble if they are caught with illegal drugs? Fears in Portugal were that everyone would go out and try drugs, and that the country would become full of addicts who were getting away with their drug abuse. But that hasn’t happened. In the last 10 years, Portugal has seen drug-related court cases drop 66%, the number of drug abusers has remained the same, and the number of people receiving treatment rose 20%. Most importantly, some of the country’s worst neighborhoods, once plagued with drug addicts and crime, have become safe.

Opponents

Some argue that policies like these are too soft on drug addicts, and without pressure and the threat of jail some people will never change, and for some people that is true. But only in countries that become lax when it comes to carrying out the law do they see an increase in drug users, but in countries like Portugal who have followed through with the treatment part of the plan, they have seen success. It works because they have changed the drug problem from a law enforcement issue to a public health issue which can be more openly managed.

Throwing a drug addict in jail does little good. We can expect 48% of substance abusing criminals to get caught using drugs again. However, if we can get these people the help they need to live a life without drugs, we can change their lives for good and we would encourage these countries to implement a mandatory ignition interlock device like Cleared2Drive program, which can prevent drugged or impaired driving as they too have proven very successful in keeping people from relapsing.

As Addiction Increases So Does The Need For Cleared2Drive Systems

January 4, 2011

addicted MADD National Highway Transportation Safety Administration NHTSA alcoholism drug addiction Substance abuse addicts adolescences tweens Addiction Anti-Social Behavior prescription  painkillers Oxycontin Vicodin doctor dentist cocktail binge drinking death alcohol accidental poisoning death abusing treatment relapse Cleared2Drive peace of mind drive under the influence drugs sobriety preventing DWI arrest lawsuit fatal DUI accident Anti DUINowadays, the amount of people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol has increased astronomically.  Every group from MADD to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that as fact.   We also can’t deny that alcoholism and drug addiction has gotten into every level of society.  Substance abuse doesn’t discriminate against any ages, ethnics, beliefs, nations, and even professions. Today addicts are no longer found just on the streets, but also in every profession and at every level within a household including mothers, fathers and children of all ages all the down to adolescences and tweens.

Addiction is an Anti-Social Behavior

Sometimes, it can start very innocently, as with a prescription for painkillers like Oxycontin or Vicodin from a doctor or dentist or one cocktail just to unwind.  Next thing you know it has turned into an abnormal situation with the individual exhibiting drug seeking behavior or binge drinking, which can lead to decreased responding ability and social problems such as stealing, health problems, missing work or school, and even causing death. Despite alcohol and drugs’ initial euphoria effects, drug abuse does nothing good in anyone’s life since drugs will keep the person from his or her family, friends, and destroy his or her life or even lead to accidental poisoning death.

One way to prevent addiction is by not letting other users to seduce you, because once you get in, it is going to be a very long journey to get out. However, if someone you love is already abusing drugs or alcohol and you feel helpless to stop them or if they have been in treatment and suffered a relapse, Cleared2Drive can help.

One of Cleared2Drive’s primary goals is to provide abusers’ loved ones with peace of mind.  With a Cleared2Drive System on their vehicle you will know your loved one will no longer be able to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  While Cleared2Drive can’t force your loved one in sobriety (just as nothing else can) the loss of their freedom to drive can be the catalyst that makes them realize help is necessary.  It can also serve as a “red flag” if you are concerned that your loved one who has already been in treatment could relapse.  For example:  If all of sudden they can no longer start their vehicle, this could be an indicator that they have relapsed.

Help Yourself and Protect Your Loved One

By installing a Cleared2Drive System on your loved one’s vehicle, they will no longer be in danger of starting their vehicle while under the influence thereby preventing you from spending thousands because of a DWI arrest or worse yet, becoming involved in a lawsuit because your loved one has caused a fatal DUI accident.  There is hope, and it is called Cleared2Drive.

We can be reached at Cleared2Drive.com or 1-877-Anti DUI.

Drinkers Misjudge How Long It Takes To Sober Up

January 3, 2011

recover alcohol consumption study drinkers under the influence blood alcohol concentration BAC safe to drive drivers recovery sober intoxicated security AlcoSense Cleared2Drive Systems fleet impaired workers accident worker's DUI DWI accidents school bus drivers sobers Impairment Detection TechnologyIf you think you know how much time it takes for you to recover from alcohol consumption, you are most likely wrong.

A new study has revealed that half of all drinkers who take to the road are still under the influence because they misjudge how long it takes your blood alcohol concentration or BAC level to wear off making you safe to drive.

The study found that 53% of the 1,800 drivers miscalculated the recovery time needed after four drinks at night with most thinking they would be sober enough to drive between 8am and 10am the next day, when in actuality they are still intoxicated and would not be safe to drive until 11am.

“You have a false sense of security when you have had a night’s sleep. It is like having a fresh start,” the Daily Express quoted Hunter Abbott, managing director of AlcoSense, who commissioned the survey, as saying and all of us here at Cleared2Drive couldn’t agree more.  Before installing Cleared2Drive Systems fleet wide to keep impaired workers from causing an accident harming themselves or others, a large percentage of our commercial customers reported most of their worker’s DUI or DWI accidents were in the morning not after lunch or in the evening as most people think.  This is especially prevalent in school bus drivers.

There is only one thing that sobers a person up – time; and, there is the only one patented Impairment Detection Technology available anywhere in the world – Cleared2Drive.

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.

Drug-related crashes up in Florida

December 17, 2010

National Highway Transportation Safety Administration NHTSA illegal drugs pharmaceuticals tested positive illicit drug criminal offense fatalities New Year's Day holiday drive impaired Cleared2Drive Good2GoIs anyone surprised that the number of drug-related traffic crashes is rising in Florida given that they are the nation’s prescription drug capital?  Yes, it is nice that as the holiday season gets under way the state is ratcheting up its efforts against drunk and drugged driving, but let’s be honest here folks, Florida’s impaired driving problem isn’t going to go away just because we ring in a new year.

Over the holidays the Florida Highway Patrol says it is launching a new crackdown on impaired drivers (glad to see they are now starting to focus on impaired driving as opposed to just drunk driving) as the numbers show there’s a real need for it.  The latest statistics show drug-related crashes and injuries are up more than 10% in Florida, according to Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp. “Drug-related crashes increased by nearly 11% and drug-related injuries by more than 19%. These are numbers that we cannot ignore.” When you include drunk driving, the problem is even worse. Alcohol and drugs were factors in 44% of the more than 2,500 fatal crashes last year.

According to Bruce Grant, Director of Florida’s Office of Drug Control, driving at night on weekends is even riskier.  He sights a national survey by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) showing that a lot of drivers are using illegal drugs or pharmaceuticals on weekend nights.  “One in eight nighttime weekend drivers tested positive for an illicit drug. That number rises to one out of every six when you include not only illicit drugs but also pharmaceuticals.”

Grant says 17 other states make it a criminal offense to drive while using an illegal drug and he is urging Florida lawmakers to adopt a similar law.  “I think it’s time for Florida to seriously consider adopting a version of this so that we stop the increase that we see in drugged driving and prevent these crashes from becoming fatalities.” In my humble opinion, Florida should have been leading the charge on this one!

Over the New Year’s Day holiday in 2009, Florida experienced a record high fatality rate.  Police say DUI/DWI crashes killed 34 people over the four-day period.  Now with another New Year’s holiday fast approaching, Kottkamp is urging Floridians not to drive impaired this holiday season. “I would encourage all Floridians to be responsible and make good decisions, decisions that can make all live a better life.”

Yes, it good to “encourage” people to be responsible and not drive impaired, but when they can’t do it on their own, take comfort knowing Cleared2Drive can do it for them.