Do Steering Wheel Monitors Prevent DUIs?

I will state point blank that I am strongly in favor of breath monitors on steering wheels for people who have been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). There is strong debate around the country and up on Capitol Hill regarding this technology and how and when it should be used.

I cannot understand why. There are some people that think DUIs should be compared alongside “attempted murder.” Indeed, some DUI offenders who happen to kill someone due to their DUI behavior are convicted of manslaughter.

One of the issues is whether the technology should be mandated after just one DUI conviction. What do you think?

At present, according to Politico, 16 states have this sort of “all-offender” mandate for ignition interlocks on their books, and an additional 22 states require them for repeat offenders or those whose blood-alcohol content was especially high. These programs generally require an offender to install an ignition interlock in order to avoid a complete driver’s license suspension for a period of time.

According to research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the all-offender mandate seems to be making a difference. The study examined drivers in Washington state — one of the states that has an ignition interlock mandate for first-time offenders — and concluded that recidivism fell by 12 percent among first-timers who installed an interlock.

In New Mexico — the first state to mandate an ignition interlock — expanding the mandate to include first-time offenders reduced DUI-related fatalities by 35 percent over four years.

I certainly feel this technology should be used as often as possible. There are rumors of making it so affordable that it will become the norm for all cars – kind of like the third “pod light” on the back of automobiles.

DUI Class Could Have Averted Lawsuit for Woman With 2 DUIs

As a counselor for both in-class and online alcohol classes I realize that one alcohol-related offense is a strong indicator of a possible drinking problem. Two driving under the influence (DUI) violations is a definite sign of a problem. Two DUIs in one 24-hour period is a slam dunk diagnosis.

But that is not what one Oklahoma woman believes and is fighting both of her DUIs. 

What is her complaint? That police were targeting her. What a load of hooey!

Police Chief Mike Miller denied targeting Gloria Boettcher.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the 29-year-old is trying to get a public defender, however her charges are both misdemeanors and do not qualify for public relief. What a piece of work!

Boettcher was arrested at 3 a.m. after officers noticed her making a very wide turn. It didn’t help that she had slurred speech and poor hand/eye coordination, thus failing a field sobriety examination. She was arrested.

Under Oklahoma law, if a suspect refuses the blood or breath test, they automatically lose their driver's license for six months. A blood test revealed she may have been under the influence of prescription drugs, finding Clonazepan, Butal, phentermine, Venlafaxine, Xanax and headache relief medicine upon searching her Kia SUV.

She is clearly in denial of she does not see her problem. Driving on that cocktail of medications is lethal. Add alcohol to the mix and she is lucky she did not kill someone. I hope she is forced to take alcohol and drug classes and seek medical counseling for her problem.

Florida Alcohol Awareness Class Could Kept Monkey Thief Out of Jail

As a counselor for both in-class and online Florida alcohol classes I assure you that it is always a bad idea to drink and drive. This is especially true when you drink and drive with your illegal exotic pet.

When police in Largo, Florida pulled over Eugene Carl Kotelman they did so because he was speeding. Speeding is a dumb decision. According to Kotelman’s decisions continued to be clouded by poor judgment as he also had a suspended license, were drunk and had his illegal pet money on the steering wheel!

Initially police officers released the monkey—whose name is believed to be Doc Holliday—to a friend. However, once Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers found out about the incident they quickly tracked down Kotelman and arrested him again, charging him with possession of wildlife and two counts of violating fish and wildlife rules. After the arrest the FFWCC took custody of the illegal monkey.

If this story wasn't already weird enough, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission had been on the hunt for Kotelman and "his simian companion" for some time. 

Kotelman is now believed to be the Youtube user who posted videos of several small monkeys kept as household pets under the user name "monkeysdaddyg". One of the videos is this one which shows a man driving down the highway in an F-350 while monkeys grab the steering wheel and play with a glow sticks. 

The status of the other two monkeys in the videos—named Uncle Sam and Koty—is not currently known, but we wouldn't be the least bit surprised if they manage to do a better job avoiding capture by authorities than Kotelman.

This guy is a virtual menace to society. I hope he gets an alcohol class and the counseling he needs to keep him sober and on the right side of the law.

Pro Golfer Matthew Giles Needs Arizona DUI Class

I can only imagine how stressful life is playing professional gold. As a duffer myself, I still feel the pressure when hitting the links with my buddies. A few weeks ago I blogged about Rachel Connor, a female professional golfer arrested for driving under the influence in Florida.

Now comes the story of a male golfer getting arrested in another winter-time paradise, Arizona.

Australian pro golfer Matthew Giles was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after he crashed his car into a home in a neighborhood just outside Phoenix.

The police report claims that Giles was "travelling at a very high rate of speed and tried to make a left turn" when he lost control of his car and it crashed into a single-family home Monday night.

The 22-year-old Giles was lucky he was not killed as the accident ruptured a natural gas line.

They say Giles was given sobriety tests at the crash scene and results are expected in about two weeks.

Giles finished 66th in the Nationwide Tour's TPC Stonebrae Championship in California the day before the crash.

Giles is a native of Sydney, but the former University of Southern California star lives in the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale.

He is young enough to overcome one incident like this. Giles needs to take an Arizona DUI class and stay away from alcohol. It will not help his career or health to continue drinking.

DUI Classes Needed for Miss Teen Arizona and Speeding Mom

Alcohol certainly makes people do stupid things.  If you get caught driving under the influence (DUI), it is one ticket you are not likely to get out of.  This is true even if you are an incredibly attractive, young woman.

In fact, Miss Teen Arizona in 2010 was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Tori Vance, 18-year-old ex-Miss Arizona Teen USA, was pulled over after making an illegal U-turn in Hollywood.  Would she have made the decision to make an illegal U-turn?

Driving a Mini Cooper, Ms. Vance failed a field sobriety test and was booked for misdemeanor DUI.

A blood-alcohol concentration showed she was barely over the legal limit of .08.

Tori is young enough that with alcohol classes and support she can get her life back in order.

What Was Mom Thinking?

There is no doubt many of today’s parents are over-scheduled, running from one event to another.  Here is one story of a mom who made some very bad decisions.

First there was the case of the man speeding at 104 mph with two kids in tow because they were late for a youth soccer game. Now, here’s the story of a woman driving drunk at 100 mph because she was late to her child’s birthday party.

Police in Sonoma County, CA arrested 34-year-old Katherine Russell after she sped past them in her Toyota 4Runner at 90 mph in a construction zone. By the time he caught up to her, she was going 100 mph.

Russell failed a Breathalyzer test blowing more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

She was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, driving without a license and traffic violations.  You can add child endangerment and other charges as well.

Endangering your children like that is criminal.  I am sure she is ashamed of her actions.  Hopefully, this is an isolated incident, although I would guess not.  I would like to see her take a level 3 24-hour alcohol class and get counseling for a possible drinking problem.

Cinco de Mayo Celebrates Wrong Kind of Alcohol Awareness

When you think of the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo what comes to mind? If you are Mexican you might celebrate the day with food and drink. This too is the case for Americans and others looking for an opportunity to celebrate.

Most certainly, alcohol has become a major part of many Cinco de Mayo celebrations both within the Mexican community and especially others.

Here’s what Cinco de Mayo has become in the U.S.: a celebration of all things Mexican, from mariachi music to sombreros, marked by schools, politicians and companies selling everything from beans to beer.

Linked to the US Civil War

And here’s what Cinco de Mayo is not according to, despite all the signs in bar windows inviting revelers to drink: It’s not Mexico’s Independence Day, and it’s barely marked in Mexico, except in the state of Puebla, where the holiday is rooted in a complicated and short-lived 1862 military victory over the French.

The holiday has spread from the American Southwest, even though most are unaware of its original ties to the U.S. Civil War, abolition and promotion of civil rights for blacks.

Often mistaken for Mexican Independence Day (that’s Sept. 16), Cinco de Mayo commemorates the 1862 Battle of Puebla between the victorious ragtag army of largely Mexican Indian soldiers against the invading French forces of Napoleon III. Mexican Americans, during the Chicano Movement of the 1970s, adopted the holiday for its David vs. Goliath storyline as motivation for civil rights struggles in Texas and California.

With many more people celebrating it in the US, Cinco de Mayo is an American holiday. It is another excuse for people to get together and drink vast quantities of booze. 

For those of you who enjoy celebrating the battle and just getting together I apologize. As a counselor for both in-class and online alcohol classes I know from my students’ experiences that this is a major day to party.

Baseball Star Matt Bush's Career Over at 24 – Needs Alcohol Class

As a fan of all baseball I followed the high school career of Matt Bush with great enthusiasm. As a San Diego Padres fan I was both excited, yet disappointed when the team selected Bush with the #1 overall pick in the 2004 draft.

I was excited because he was a dynamic player. I was disappointed because I wanted the team to draft Jarrod Weaver.

Now, at the ripe age of 24, according to the Sporting News, Bush’s career could be over unless he pulls a miracle like Texas Rangers’ all-star Josh Hamilton.

Now pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays minor-league team, Bush, who remained in jail today after last week’s DUI hit-and-run accident that left a motorcyclist hospitalized in critical condition, won’t ever play for the Rays.

Bush has battled alcohol abuse since he was the No. 1 overall draft pick as a shortstop by the San Diego Padres. He is facing seven charges from the incident.

The motorcyclist was hit by Bush’s SUV from behind, with the rider sustaining multiple injuries including broken ribs, several broken bones in his back, a broken wrist, road rash covering both arms, hemorrhaging in his brain and a collapsed lung.

Bush, who has admitted to having an alcohol problem, went through rehab in 2010 before signing with the Rays as a minor league free agent. He was randomly tested for alcohol when he first joined the organization, but those tests ended when he was placed on the 40-man roster before the 2011 season and became a member of the Major League Baseball Players Association.

The cyclists fell from the motorcycle and his head was run over by the SUV driven by Bush, who then left the scene but was later arrested and charged with DUI and leaving the scene of an accident. He blew a .180 blood-alcohol level on a field sobriety test.

Good God how alcohol kills true talent. Bush has had many run-ins but is still young enough to rebound from this situation. With an 16 hour alcohol awareness class, (perhaps a California alcohol class), AA meetings, counseling and dedication to staying sober, perhaps Bush’s God-given talents can be witnessed by everyone.

Alcohol Class Could Save Fight Over DUI Technology

Do you think it should be mandatory for anyone who is convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) to have a breath monitor placed on their steering wheel? How about if they have been convicted twice? Three times?

Congress can be quite frustrating in its ineptitude and inability to quorum. It now has another big banana on its plate.

Tucked into the Senate’s transportation bill is a provision that directs the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to study “more widespread deployment of in-vehicle technology” that would prevent drunken driving. This as reported in Politico.

In-Car Technology

The idea is to develop some kind of nonintrusive technology based around touch or breathing that would be able to sense when a driver is drunk and disable the car. Technology on the market now — called “ignition interlocks” — require a driver to blow into a Breathalyzer device attached to the car’s dashboard and then wait 30 seconds until the sample is analyzed. Only then will the car start.

Does that sound intrusive? Not to me it doesn’t.

The research is trying to develop a “far less intrusive” technology more acceptable to the general public, which consumers eventually would be able to choose as an option on a new car — similar to picking leather seats or a sunroof. That sure might make some parents of teenagers feel more comfortable about loaning them the car on a Saturday night.

1st Time Offenders Get Steering Wheel Breathalyzer

One stipulation in the bill mandates states enact a law that requires first-time DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device if they want to continue driving, if the states want about 5 percent of their regularly allocated safety money.

I, for one, think it should be mandatory for at least a year after a first offense. Plus a DUI class or alcohol awareness class. Research continues to show that for each time a driver is arrested for Dui they may have driven hundreds of other times while under the influence.