Archive for May, 2013

The Federal Government Wants to Lower DUI Levels

May 29th, 2013 at 6:35 pm

empty wine glassThe government has made various attempts in trying to reduce the number of alcohol related deaths.  They have raised the minimum drinking age from 18 to 21.  They have also lowered the permissible blood alcohol level to .08.  Now there might be a more drastic effort to eliminate traffic deaths caused by alcohol.

In recent news, the National Transportation Safety Board has recommended a reduction in the blood alcohol level which can lead to DUI arrests and convictions.  Although states are responsible for managing their own DUI laws, the federal government can force the states to change their laws by withholding highway funding.

“Our goal is to get to zero deaths because each alcohol-impaired death is preventable,” NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said. “Alcohol-impaired deaths are not accidents, they are crimes. They can and should be prevented. The tools exist. What is needed is the will.”  The lower threshold is only one recommendation presented by the NTSB to reduce fatalities involving alcohol.

Supporters of the change look at other evidence which corroborates the recommendation of the NTSB. For example, the reduction of alcohol related casualties in over 100 countries in Europe had in when they lowered their blood alcohol threshold to .05 percent.  After ten years of the lowered standard, deaths were reduced by more than half.

Detractors of the blood alcohol level modification point to other areas that should be targeted to reduce accidents.  Mothers Against Drunk Driving has three recommendations: ignition locks for all repeat offenders, better technology to stop drunk drivers from operating vehicles, and more law enforcement on the streets.

It may soon become a lot easier to be arrested for driving while intoxicated.  Some states have already amended their DUI laws.  If you have been pulled over due to suspicion of DUI, it is important to contact a skilled DUI defense attorney in DuPage County who has many years of experience.

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Blood Alcohol Level- How it Affects You

May 23rd, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Kerry 5-22The effects of drinking alcohol can slowly creep up on you. And many people don’t realize that just a couple of drinks can have a significant effect on reflexes and responses.

B.R.A.D. (Be Responsible about Drinking), an organization named after Bradley McCue who died of alcohol poisoning after celebrating his 21st birthday, provides a breakdown of the effects of specific blood alcohol levels (B.A.C.) on their website.

  • BAC of 0.02 – 0.03% (about two drinks):  No loss of coordination, slight euphoria and loss of shyness. There could be a slight loss of sense of judgment.
  • BAC of 0.04 – 0.06% (about three drinks):  Feeling of well-being, relaxation and lower inhibitions. There may be some minor impairment of reasoning and memory, lowering of caution. Inhibitions decrease and spontaneity becomes more common.
  • BAC of 0.07 – 0.09% (about four to five drinks):  Slight impairment of balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing. There are difficulties assessing dangers and rewards because of the brain’s lessening ability to pay attention to bad criticism. Person believes they are functioning better than they actually are.
  • BAC of 0.10 – 0.125% (about six drinks):  Begins to have problems maintaining balance. Aggressiveness also increases at this point. There is a significant impairment of motor coordination and loss of good judgment. Speech may be slurred; balance, vision, reaction time and hearing are impaired.
  • BAC of 0.13 – 0.15% (about seven drinks):  Gross motor impairment and lack of physical control. There is blurred vision and major loss of balance. Euphoria is reduced and dysphoria (anxiety, restlessness) begins. Judgment and perception are also severely impaired. Nausea and vomiting are often experienced at this point as the body attempts to expel the toxins from the alcohol.
  • BAC of .20% (about ten drinks):  Person feels dazed, confused or otherwise disoriented and may need help to stand or walk. At this point, blacking out may occur.  Memory is significantly altered, if not completely debilitated. The gag reflex is impaired and person can choke if they begin to vomit.
  • BAC of 0.25% (about 12 drinks):  All mental, physical and sensory functions are severely impaired. There is a significant increased risk of asphyxiation from choking on vomit and of seriously injuries from falls or accident.
  • BAC of 0.35% (about 18 drinks):  This level of impairment is comparable to the amount one would experience under surgical anesthesia. Coma is possible.
  • BAC of 0.40% (about 20 or more drinks):  Gag reflexes are blocked, so this is the stage in which people choke on their own vomit. The onset of coma and death due to respiratory arrest can occur.

If you have been arrested for drinking and driving, contact an experienced Chicago DUI defense attorney to represent you. A guilty conviction could mean loss of license, fines and possibly a prison sentence.

New Study Links Texting while Driving to Drinking and Driving

May 20th, 2013 at 8:00 am

new driverEven before texting while driving became a problem, car crashes have been a leading cause of death for teenagers.  35% of teen deaths were the result of accidents according to statistics from 2009, which is much higher than any other cause.  Teens are more susceptible to getting into accidents because they are new drivers, immature and become distracted by other things.  New information has come to light that nearly half of teenagers text while driving according to a study conducted by the CDC.

4 out of 9 of teens said they sent or received a text while driving in the past 30 days.  12% said that they text while driving everyday. Risky behavior like texting behind the wheel can be one example of teenagers making bad decisions.  But this study shows that one risky behavior often begets another,  including not wearing seat belts as well as driving after drinking alcoholic beverages.

Those who texted while driving were 6 times more likely to drink and drive.  3% of surveyed teens said that they drove after drinking alcohol even though they do not text and drive.  That is compared to 19% of those teens who do text and drive.  Texting teens are also more likely to accept rides from other drivers who have recently drank alcohol.  19 percent of teens who don’t text said that they took rides from drivers who imbibed compared to 34% of teenagers who do text.

If your teen practices dangerous behaviors while driving, it is important to talk to them about safety before they make a bad decision.  But if your teen is already in trouble with the law due to drinking and driving, more help will be necessary.  Contact an experienced DUI defense attorney in Dupage County who can limit the damage to your child’s future.

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