By Kenneth England, MFT, Primary Therapist, Malibu Promises
Drinking too much on the eve of Thanksgiving has become a national pastime. It’s a tradition that is treacherous for many people, especially those in recovery.
Thanks to technology-based rideshare services such as Uber, it’s never been easier to get from point A to point B. Pull out your smartphone, link to the appropriate app, and you can order and pay for a car and driver to be at your side within minutes, usually at rates much lower than a traditional taxi. And that has Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) smiling.
There are many dangers and risks associated with underage drinking, but drunk driving is one of the worst. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-quarter of teens admit to having gotten into a car with a drunk driver within the previous month. Eight percent of teens say that they drove after drinking in the past month. In 2010, nearly one-quarter of the teenaged drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking. If we can prevent teens from drinking and driving, many lives could be saved. But what works?
Blood-alcohol content, or blood-alcohol concentration (BAC), is a way of measuring a person’s level of alcohol intoxication. The measure refers to the percentage of alcohol in a person’s blood compared to the total volume of blood. For example, a BAC of 0.08 (which is the legal driving limit for most states in the U.S.) means that the mass of alcohol in a person’s blood is equivalent to 0.08, or eight-tenths of 1 percent, of the person’s total blood volume. BAC is primarily used as a medical and law enforcement tool, for treatment, and for determining when a person is considered to be legally intoxicated and impaired.
The roadside breathalyzer test marked a turning point for monitoring drivers who were operating a vehicle under the influence. With its ability to provide quick results and limit tampering, law enforcement was able to accurately measure whether a person required further detaining following a roadside check.
An average of 13.2% of all American drivers drove under the influence of alcohol, and an average 4.3% drove under the influence of an illicit substance within the past year, according to a new survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Approximately 40 million drivers each year are driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance—a dangerous trend that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says causes 33% of all motor vehicle fatalities.
Researchers have uncovered evidence of a subtle decision-making deficit among second-time offenders of driving under the influence (DUI), which may help explain why these drunk drivers are more prone to hazardous risk-taking.
Obtaining a driver’s license is a major rite of passage for America’s youth. In most states, and with consent of a parent, teens between the ages of 16 and 18 are permitted to apply for a driver’s license. States typically require the teen driver to first undergo a training period with a “learner’s permit”; however regulations vary by state and are typically tied to exact age or evidence of having completed a driver’s education course.
More than 4,000 drivers in Massachusetts have been required to install an ignition interlock device in their cars since tougher drunken driving laws went into effect in 2006. State statistics were released yesterday for a program that has been called one of the most effective strategies to help curb repeat drunken driving.
More than 1,400 people were arrested for driving under the influence in Los Angeles County during a weeklong crackdown that ran through the holiday weekend, authorities said.
From 2007 to 2008, drunken-driving fatalities have decreased in several states that target drunk driving with aggressive enforcement efforts. This news came minutes after Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and other officials launched a national holiday crackdown on impaired driving.
New York governor David Paterson signed a bill called Leandra’s Law on Wednesday, making it a felony to drive drunk with a child in the car.
Police officers in Idaho and Texas have recently received training to draw blood from those suspected of drunken or drugged driving, and many law enforcement officials believe this practice will deter people from getting behind the wheel when they shouldn’t.
Police painted a grizzly picture of the reckless driving of Diane Schuler that led to the July 26 crash that killed 8 people, including Schuler. The 36-year-old mother of two had a blood-alcohol level of 0.19%, more than twice the legal limit, and had smoked marijuana 15 minutes to an hour before driving. The crash killed Schuler, her 2-year-old daughter, three of her nieces (all under age 10), and the three men in the SUV she collided with.