Michigan has extended the .08 BAC level for drunk driving in their state. They based this decision on bogus statistics and the amount of funding that they would have lost, $50 million, had they not complied with the blackmailing tactics of DOT. It is so frustrating to see what is happening to our country. What I really want to know is where all of this money is coming from? Shouldn't we throw money at real problems instead of blackmailing states to enforce arbitrary laws based on bad data and misinformation that has been perpetuated by emotionally charged groups? There is no place for emotionally charged, greedy, false representation of facts in our legal/"justice" system.
House Bill 1214 is up for consideration in Colorado. This bill aims to mandate a felony charge for the third DUI/DWAI offense, regardless of the circumstances. This Bill will further remove discretion from our court system and should not be passed. It has been defeated in the past due to the costs of enforcement and lack of space in the jails. However, it seems there are now empty beds in the jails, which should be a good thing, unfortunately it has been used as a signal to the legislators that new laws to increase incarceration are needed to fill them. The representative that introduced the Bill states that Colorado is one of five states that do not have a felony penalty for repeat offenders. This is much like saying, we should do this because everyone else is. We are also one of two states that has legalized marijuana, did we do that because everyone else is? I hope that citizens stand up and make their voices heard on this issue because we shouldn't pass new laws because everyone else has them.
The real problem with this mentality is that everyone that has been convicted of a DWAI or DUI was driving or actually causing a safety risk to the community. This is often not the case in Colorado. Another problem is that a DWAI is a .05 - .07 BAC level, which for me is one drink. These laws need to be equal for all drivers, not discriminating against people that drink. If a driver is observed driving poorly and creating a safety hazard, they should be ticketed and removed from the road - equal treatment for all drivers. Most fatal accidents are caused by people that have a .000 BAC level.
Colorado residents write your representatives to make your voice heard and ask for equality among drivers. No on House Bill 1214.
If you live in Kentucky, Michigan or Wisconsin beware of pending legislation to implement hasher punishment for drunk drivers. Kentucky representative Dennis Keene has introduced a bill to mandate interlock installation for DUI offenders. In October 2012, the feds in their infinite wisdom enacted legislation for states to mandate interlocks or risk losing a portion of their funding (blackmail). This will help the bill pass, this time -
Michigan stands to lose $50 million in federal funding unless they vote to keep the BAC limit at .08. The original
legislation that lowered the limit to .08 will run out soon and raise the legal limit to .10 BAC. MADD and police officers that get paid overtime and receive awards for their DUI arrests are against letting the limit revert to .10. They claim that the data supports their position, but as we all know - their data is seriously flawed and holds no meaning. http://www.wilx.com/news/headlines/Drunk-Driving-Laws-Could-Change--191118541.html
Wisconsin has introduced legislation that will make a third drunk driving offense a felony. The representative said that their laws were out of line with other states and needed to be stronger. They want to enforce mandatory minimum sentences and criminalize first offenders over .15 BAC which is not currently the law. You can read about it here
The only way to stop the madness is to make your voices heard. Please write, call or visit your representatives if you live in any of these states and tell them this has gone too far.
It seems that the NHTSA has decided that just because there's a cell phone in the vehicle, they can no longer attribute the accident to distracted driving. This is curious since that's exactly what they do for alcohol related accidents, there merely has to be alcohol present or suspected to be present. Why is it that data collection for one form of automobile accidents is different from another? Shouldn't it all be the same for reporting purposes? The answer is yes it should, but MADD has a strong hold on the NHTSA and would not be happy with a change to drunk driving data collection. They award officers every year that have the highest drunk driving offender arrest rate. This action encourages many officers to use creative writing techniques and stretch the "reasonable cause" tactic in order to meet a quota and win a prize.
In the research community the data collection methods used and statistical information produced by the NHTSA is laughed at, but unfortunately that is a very small portion of the population. The general public listens to their nonsense; believes that they are unbiased and actually know what they're doing. They do know what they're doing, they are biased and creating an unecessary panic in our society to get the desired reaction. Data and statistical information can be used in many ways, it can also be calculated in numerous ways to show whatever you want to show if you have no ethics which is exactly what has happened in the NHTSA. Just take a look at the first link provided below, if they wanted to portray accurate information, why would they collect statistical data in the manner that they did/do in the first place?
NHTSA and MADD
MADD and NHTSA Continue To Deceive The U.S. Public
MADD Flunks the Truth Test
With all of the drunk driving arrests, it is good to know that there is still reason in some areas of the country, St Tammany Parish in Louisiana is a leading example of how common sense works better than strict laws.
"...Strain said his deputies also are trained to use discretion in deciding which drivers are most dangerous to public safety. They weigh a variety of factors: the initial traffic violation, the driver's apparent level of impairment, the
driver's record and even the reason for drinking."We don't want to arrest every person who drives through our parish," Strain said. "We're there to get the guy who's truly impaired and not the husband and wife who have just celebrated their 20th anniversary over a bottle of wine."
Pot smokers are finally feeling realizing the ridiculousness of the blood content (BC) laws. Washington smokers are scared about being criminalized for using a legal substance because of the arbitrary BC law that is in effect – 5 nanograms per milliliter of THC is legally under the influence and leads to a criminal conviction. Welcome to the alcohol world! They say it is wrong because the substance is legal and stays in the system long after use, affects people differently, and is a way for government to prohibit use – does any of this sound familiar? It is peculiar that these same people believe that marijuana should be treated differently because it is safer than alcohol. Wake up pot smokers, no one cares, alcohol has been legal for many years and the prohibitionist’s have a strong movement in place that has made it essentially illegal to use. Sure you can still purchase it from a store in most areas, but do not walk, drive, ride a bike, go boating or rafting, ride a horse or use any type of transportation under your control after consuming a beer or alcoholic beverage because that’s illegal. People that drink often or are addicts will always have a BAC level whether or not they are intoxicated at the time and they have built up a tolerance which makes them less impaired than someone that does not drink often. An additional concern among pot smokers is that the laws do not take into account the size, tolerance and metabolism of the individual. The misinformation, inflated numbers and negative propaganda has created the same problem for alcohol that marijuana has had to overcome. Whether you prefer to use pot or alcohol is a personal choice, the fact is that law enforcement should be held accountable for proving that there was a driving impairment that prompted them to pull over the vehicle. This is not the case in
Colorado, you do not need to be driving or operating the transportation in question – only the ability to do so, and as Washington is finding your rights are stripped away in court once the BC level is broken. There is no defense if
they have a breath or blood sample that is in excess of the limit which is .05 in Colorado. When it’s a secondary offense found after the vehicle is pulled over – a license plate light out, expired tags, and similar circumstances - it
should not subject the victim/driver to arrest and additional charges of driving while impaired – because there’s no evidence of driving impairment.
Americans for Fair Legislation will submit a letter to several legislators to present the facts and recommend a common sense approach to this problem. It will be posted on the web site, please help us make a change by writing to your representatives and requesting reasonable laws that focus on driving impairment. Links to find them are provided below, they will be reviewing these laws in January 2013.
Write your congress representative
Write your state legislator and governor
Over the summer a legislator in New Jersey was stopped and charged with a DUI. He promptly filed numerous complaints against the arresting officer with the court, 27 to be exact! The court dismissed 14 of the charges, but 13 criminal charges are pending against the officer. He has been suspended with pay until the matter is resolved. Aside from delaying the DWI charges against the Assemblyman, the charges will provide doubt for a jury of peers when his case is heard - if it goes to trial.
This happens more often than we know. Most officials that are stopped and charged with drunk driving refuse testing and begin discrediting the arresting officer. In this case he said that the officer lied in his written report, I would like to know what officer doesn't embellish the truth. They are trained to write reports that will make the charges stick and it often requires creative writing. Unfortunately, for the average citizen these tactics do not work because the judge would just throw out the charges and the court assumes guilt if testing is refused - though they are not supposed to and would never admit to it.
Lately I have been hearing a lot about problems with interlock ignition devices (IID). These devices are used across the country to prevent drunk driving. They are connected to the vehicle ignition and require the driver to provide a breath sample before they can start the vehicle. In addition, they require samples randomly while the vehicle is being driven. It sounds like a great idea, but is it?
These devices are sensitive to anything that contains acohol like perfume, hairspray, certain types of food, mouthwash and other products. A person that uses or ingests these products can have a false reading and fail a test which sets off a chain reaction. If they are trying to start the vehicle, the vehicle is locked out for a period of time before they allowed to retest. When the car is in motion and a test is failed the device makes a very loud noise, honks the horn and flashes the lights until the driver pulls over, turns the vehicle off and is able to restart. This goes on their record and is sent to the DMV, often resulting in a longer amount of time they are required to have it on their vehicle or revocation of their license.
Some people that I have talked with recently have said that the device was faulty. Not only did they have false readings, sometimes they couldn't even take the test. Many of these people had to have their vehicles towed to the company that installed the device for maintenance and/or repair. Many of them had bad experiences with the company and were treated poorly as if they had done something wrong.
I am curious if this technology is really ready for prime time. It seems as though they jumped the gun on this, just like they have on so many software programs that required numerous patches to fix all of the problems experienced once it was launched. Maybe these incidents should be reported to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), it's easy to do online at http://www.bbb.org/. At a minimum it will start a record that has to be addressed, other people can use and hold the companies accountable as well as the manufacturers.
Thank you Senator Burke Harr for recognizing there's a problem with DUI laws! He has initiated a study on the effectiveness of DUI laws and how the problem can be addressed without increasing penalties. It is good to know that there are people in Congress that do believe in the constitution and have not been hoodwinked by MADD's misinformation. Hopefully his study will lead to reasonable legislation.
Nebraska Lawmakers to Study Effectiveness of DUI Laws
Attorney Lawrence Taylor has a great web site and DUI Blog that has a wealth of information. He is an expert in the DUI defense arena and has numerous locations in CA. The most recent blog says that police officers are correct about driving impairment 25% of the time, more than I expected! Check it out:
How Good Are Cops at Detecting Intoxication?