Archive for the ‘Mothers Against Drunk Driving’ Category

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.

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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.

NTSB wants to make Hard-Core Drunk Drivers a High PriorityT

December 15, 2010

Laura Dean-Mooney national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving MADD ignition interlocks impaired driving breathalyzer Sarah Longwell American Beverage Institute moderate social drinking DUI offenders sobriety checkpoints Cleared2Drive’s Impairment Detection Technology impaired drivingUSA Today reports The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) wants states to make drivers caught with high blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) or repeat drunk driving offenses a high priority.  Excuse me for asking, but why is the NTSB waiting until December 2009 to make this a priority?

NTSB reports that 70% of the drunk-driving accidents last year were caused by these  so-called “hard-core” drunk drivers. The term, “hard-core drunk drivers” is defined as individuals who have a second DUI offense within 10 years of their first, or who are found to have at least 0.15 percent alcohol content in their blood.

Jake Nelson, AAA’s Director of Traffic Safety says, “Hard-core drunk drivers are, in many ways, resistant to the countermeasures we’ve applied since the early ’80s”. Back in the early 1980s when Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) was founded, drunk driving accounted for 50% of road fatalities, where in 2009 it accounted for 32%, when 10,839 people were killed.  In my estimation given the amount of education we have done in the US over the past 30 years, this number is still extremely high.

“You’re seeing harsher and harsher statutes being enacted in various states across the country,” said Joanne Michaels, who directs the National Traffic Law Center. She said that district attorneys are charging drunken drivers in fatal crashes as severely as possible which don’t you think they should have been doing all along?  Didn’t most of us Americans come to the conclusion years ago that drunk driving is no accident and is 100% preventable?

Laura Dean-Mooney, national president of MADD, said, “We believe that anyone who drives drunk is a potential threat to kill or injure people” and wants federal lawmakers to require that all first-time DUI offenders get ignition interlocks. Okay, this is good, but until we start approaching this with a pro-active solution, impaired driving is not going to stop.  MADD is also is asking that Congress allocate $60 million to create and test improved ignition interlock devices to be put in all vehicles which is only going to work if you develop the right technology.  Asking people to put a tricked out breathalyzer, or a breathalyzer called something else in a lame attempt to disguise it, in their vehicle is just not going to fly.  The breathalyzer has a stigma that is just NOT going to go away – see December 14th blog.

Sarah Longwell of The American Beverage Institute said that MADD’s plans go far beyond just hard-core drunk drivers. “Rather than focusing on the hard-core population, there has been this move to target moderate social drinking,” she said. She favored graduated sanctions for offenders and mobile patrols for DUI offenders instead of sobriety checkpoints.

Honestly, until we as a society utilize technology designed specifically to recognize impairment like Cleared2Drive’s Impairment Detection Technology, drunk or impaired driving is not going away and we will continue to bury our loved ones.

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”.

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.