Posts Tagged ‘driving under the influence’

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?

Not Again. . .

November 2, 2010

Yesterday, when I got into the office and opened my email box, I discovered that once again it was flooded with Google alerts containing stories about people who should know better about the dangers of impaired driving, getting arrested for doing just that, and quite frankly I am appalled by the number of incidents lately. These are all smart, educated people charged with either protecting or treating us.  If talking, education, and literally seeing firsthand the destruction impaired driving causes hasn’t stopped them, do we really believe that more talk and more education will work for the general public?

Okay, I know I have been on this soap box before, but I have never before documented what constantly makes me so sick to my stomach, so, for the next 30 days I am going to keep a record of all the incidents, write about some of the most outrageous ones, and report back here in 30 days on what I discovered.   Honestly, I am terrified that for the next 30 days I am going to be really sick to my stomach.

Just in case you want a preview . . .

. . .  Dr. Raymond Dwight Cook accused of driving drunk at a high rate of speed and causing a collision that killed an aspiring ballerina is scheduled to be in Wake County Superior Court today for his trial.

. . . A Morristown police officer,  Jesse Dickerson, was charged with drunken driving after his car rear-ended a tractor-trailer on in the early hours of Saturday, Oct. 16.

. . . A week after his arrest for alleged drunken driving, 7th Circuit magistrate judge Mark Marshall’s calendar is being cleared of driving under the influence cases.

. . . A highly decorated United States Marine Col who risked his life thousands of times to protect the citizens of the United States, yet chose to risk the lives of  thousands by driving drunk and it cost him his career as he was removed from his post as Commander of Cherry High at Camp LeJune.

And for some more career busters . . .

. . . South Carolina’s House of Representative Candidate John Randolph Wolfe was arrested twice in less than 24 hours for drunk driving.

. . . The former Colorado State Patrol trooper arrested for being drunk while on duty in his patrol car says he suffers from post traumatic stress disorder following years on the state’s accident reconstruction team and his condition caused him to start drinking heavily.

Stay tuned.

Cherry Point Commander Relieved of Duty

November 1, 2010

Another, I can’t believe it . . .

Col. Denn a decorated officer who has risked his life thousands of times in order to protect the citizens of the of the United States and yet he choose to risk the lives of thousands by driving impaired.  We can continue to talk about the dangers of drunk driving and we can continue to education about the dangers of impaired driving, but until we actually put some teeth behind all our talk and education we will continue to bury and mourn the death of about 17,000 US citizens who die each year as a result of impaired driving which is 4x as many who died in each year of the Iraq war.


CAMP LEJEUNE — The commanding officer of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, who was arrested and charged with drunk driving Monday night in Newport, was relieved of command Wednesday by the commanding general of Marine Corps Installations East.

Col. Douglas A. Denn, 47, was relieved by Maj Gen. Carl B. Jensen due to a “loss of confidence” in Col. Denn’s ability to command, according to a news release released by the major general.

The relief occurred as a result of an investigation into allegations of Col. Denn driving under the influence that eroded “good order and discipline,” according to the release. Col. Denn, who took command of the air station in August 2009, has been temporarily assigned to administrative duties at the air station.

Col Robert D. Clinton, executive officer, MCAS Cherry Point, has assumed command. A CH-46E helicopter pilot and graduate of the Naval War College, Col. Clinton has previously commanded Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 and served with U.S. Pacific Command, 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade. Prior to his assignment at MCAS Cherry Point, Col. Clinton was the Officer In Charge of the II MEF Forward Command.

Court records in Beaufort show Newport Police Officer Justin Ferrell stopped Col. Denn at 11 p.m. on Highway 70 in Newport for speeding. He was then charged with driving while impaired as a result of blowing 0.14 in a blood alcohol test (legal limit is 0.08), speeding 67 mph in a 55 mph zone and possession of an open container in the passenger area of the vehicle.

Prior to arriving at Cherry Point, Col. Denn served in command at various duty stations. They included Marine Aircraft Group 31 and Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312 in Beaufort, South Carolina.  Col. Denn, a jet pilot, has more than 3,500 flight hours and has received numerous decorations, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, Meritorious Service medal, Navy Commendation Medal with three gold stars and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

Guilt-Based Anti-Alcohol Ads Can Backfire, Study Finds

October 18, 2010

Researchers are now saying that using shame or guilt to try to prevent over consumption of alcohol can actually cause people to drink more.  Go figure!  Shouldn’t we have realized that years ago?   How many of us understand that addicts are mentally trying to escape?  Do we really think that piling on the guilt is going to make an addict stop?

Researcher Adam Duhachek of the Indiana Kelley School of Business and colleagues said that ads that link alcohol abuse to negative consequences like blackouts and automobile crashes in order to elicit feelings of shame or guilt can trigger a defensive coping mechanism. This can lead viewers to believe that bad things related to drinking can only happen to others and can actually increase irresponsible drinking, researchers said.

“The public health and marketing communities expend considerable effort and capital on these campaigns but have long suspected they were less effective than hoped,” said Duhachek. “But the situation is worse than wasted money or effort. These ads ultimately may do more harm than good because they have the potential to spur more of the behavior they’re trying to prevent.”

A better approach might be to educate the public about the negatives associated with drinking but link that message to one of empowerment, said Duhachek. “If you’re going to communicate a frightening scenario, temper it with the idea that it’s avoidable,” he said.

Please don’t get me wrong, I believe educating people about the danger of impaired driving is extremely important, but education alone is never going to eradicate impaired driving.  Lets face it, we have been educating everyone about the dangers of impaired driving for more than 3 decades now (my 31 year old son was taught it in the Safety School program he attended prior to his first day of kindergarten),  yet we have not seen a decrease in impaired driving deaths in the past 15 years.  Until we get serious and accept that it is going to take some type of safety technology  installed in every vehicle, this problem is not going to go away.   Isn’t that the same reason that seat belts and air bags were made mandatory for every vehicle?

I also think these signs serve a better purpose than trying to lay a guilt trip on someone and that is to reminds us how fortune we are that we have never had to live that pain.  My heart and prayers go out to the family every time I see one of these.

Drunk School Bus Driver Sends 13 Children to the Hospital

October 15, 2010

After reading about police officers, paramedics, doctors and even coroners driving drunk, is anyone surprised that we also have school bus drivers being arrested for DUI with children on their bus?   Last week an Illinois District 150 bus driver was arrested for allegedly driving while under the influence when he crashed into two parked cars and sent 13 children to two Peoria hospitals.  Thankfully all were released later that day.

According to police, Stewart registered a 0.04 percent on a breath test, however the required by law blood draw results are not yet available.  Stewart admitted drinking three beers, some 12 hours before the crash, and taking some cold medicine later that night.  He said he was not impaired, noting he took students from Peoria to Pekin that morning before the accident.  I guess he thinks that just because he didn’t crash on his first route of the day, we should believe that he couldn’t have possibly been impaired, right?  Wrong!

Just because someone has gotten away with doing something before and nothing bad happened doesn’t mean they weren’t wrong.  It just means they didn’t get caught!  Unfortunately, he isn’t the only one who thinks that way.  Too many school districts and business feel that just because they haven’t had an incident where an employee has been caught driving under the influence while on the job, means it isn’t happening.  They too are wrong.  Statistically,  it just means they haven’t been caught,  yet.

Given that 10% of the American population is considered to be an addict, the odds are stacked against any school district or company.  Lets face it, if you have 10 or more drivers, chances are, you have at least one that is driving your company vehicle under the influence on a regular basis.

It used to be that there really wasn’t anything a company could do to protect themselves 24/7, but not anymore.  So, you can either bury your head in the sand and continue to play the odds, or you can do something to protect your company.  It will cost you either way, but one is MUCH more expensive than the other.

Just remember . . .

Impaired Worker + Company Vehicle = $$$$$$$$$

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

April 15, 2009

When I read that April was Alcohol Awareness Month, my first thought was, “Do we still need an entire month dedicated to the dangers associated with alcohol?” then immediately my next thought was “YES, WE DO!” And not just an average ole yes, but an emphatic YES! Actually, I think a better question is, “Given that society has known about the dangers of alcohol for what, 100 years or so now (wasn’t that the driving force behind prohibition?), why is it still necessary to have a whole month dedicated to dangers of alcohol – especially the combination of alcohol and driving?”

On my last entry, I blogged about how if anyone should have gotten the message about the dangers of driving impaired a coroner certainly should have. Unfortunately, there was at least one coroner in Indiana that didn’t quite get that message and my question was if HE hasn’t gotten the message, is there any hope for the rest of society. My answer to that is, “I have serious, and I do mean serious, doubts.”

Case in point:
More than 25 years ago, when I took my son to sign him up for kindergarten, I was told I needed to first sign up him for Traffic Safety School. Traffic Safety School consisted of children riding big wheels through a maze set up around the playground while instructors (mostly police officers) told the students about different dangers along the way and how to stay safe. When one of the dangers they mentioned was drunk driving, I thought to myself, “Aren’t we starting just a tad bit young here?” Twenty-five years ago we were just starting to hear the message “driving impaired kills” and fortunately a there were a quite a few who listened. Unfortunately, we are discovering everyday there are just as many who haven’t.

Now as a grandmother who everyday receives numerous Google alerts that coroners, police officers, firemen and paramedics who see firsthand the deadly consequences of impaired driving are they themselves being arrested for driving under the influence, I am thinking, “Are we starting early enough?” and “ Is there any real hope we will ever eradicate this problem?” Because quite honestly, even after more than a decade of being bombarded with a blizzard of information there is just too many who have missed the point behind the memos, bulletins, signs, billboards, bodies alongside the road, and even the autopsies.

So, my question now is, “What can be done that hasn’t already been done to get this message to finally sink in?

If Anyone Should Know Better, You Would Think the Coroner Would.

March 31, 2009

Today I read a news story about the coroner of Kosciusko County in Indiana being arrested for drunk driving. Can you believe it! If anyone should know firsthand the all too real and deadly consequences of impaired driving this guy should.

The news reported that the police called him to come and get his son’s vehicle because his 19 year old son had just been arrested for drunk driving, but when the coroner showed up to retrieve the son’s vehicle, the police suspected that he also had been drinking and so they had the coroner take a breathalyzer test and found that he was driving impaired as well.

If the coroner who, I would assume, has done at least one autopsy of a victim of drunk driving hasn’t gotten the clear and distinct message about the deadly consequences of driving under the influence, is there any hope that others will get the point, especially under age or teen drivers who are just starting out?