Could Alcohol Class Have Averted Tragedy?

If you do not believe drinking and driving ruin lives you are just flat-out wrong! It always increases the likelihood that a tragedy could occur.

Here is a story that proves my point. As reported in

A Textbook Case

The case of Samuel McCauley also raised questions about the state’s Victims’ Bill of Rights, and whether it gives victims a right to a hearing when a sentence reduction is considered.

McCauley, who was 19 at the time, got drunk, sped the wrong way up an Interstate and struck 72-year-old Eleanor Caperton’s car head-on in July 2011. She died from her injuries, and he was so drunk that he didn’t know how he came to be in a hospital.

McCauley pleaded guilty to charges of reckless homicide and felony DUI involving death, and he was originally sentenced to spend 10 years in jail. In May, McCauley’s jail time to five years, without holding a hearing, after being asked to reconsider by McCauley’s lawyer.

The result was that the victim’s family got another chance to tell the judge about their pain and call for a tougher sentence — but the sentence was not changed.

Many lives ruined by alcohol and the decision to drink and drive. If you or someone you care about has a drinking problem, please seek help. An alcohol class is a good place to start. If you prefer to maintain total anonymity there are online alcohol programs too.

Temecula Man Headed to DUI Class

In yet another story of drinking and driving we find someone who has a definite problem with alcohol. If you have had an alcohol-related incident, you most likely have a problem. It is estimated that for every alcohol-related offense more than 500 go undetected.

Rudolph Barclay, a 48-year-old from Temecula, California apparently did not see a black utility trailer being backed out of property onto a dark street. Missing this huge object has involved him in a major injury crash that shut down a Wildomar road for seven hours. He was arrested for alleged DUI. As reported in

The trailer's lights were apparently not operating, Barclay was hammered at the time of the accident. Also, a man was standing in the middle of the road directing traffic when Barclay's pickup slammed into the trailer.

The man was hit by the trailer and knocked down, striking his head on the pavement and suffering injuries requiring surgery.

Just how high was Barclay’s blood-alcohol concentration at the time of the accident? That has not been released. The only real positive thus far is that no one was seriously injured. Hopefully, Barclay will take a good alcohol class and devote his life to sobriety.

Milwaukee Understands Need for Alcohol Awareness Classes

One of the ways many functional alcoholics receive their first driving under the influence violation (DUI) is from getting stopped at a DUI checkpoint. Milwaukee, the home of beer, has had a long history with DUI and have been studying the issue. As a result, they have very effective checkpoints.

During one Saturday night they arrested seven drivers. The average BAC of these offenders was .13. As reported in

Sometimes drunken drivers have to call the cops on themselves. Such is the case with 47-year-old Rodney L. Morgan. Both Morgan and his 42-year-old male passenger, were both transported to Froedtert Hospital after the vehicle they were in rolled over more than seven times.

Morgan had injuries to his eye socket and rib fractures. His passenger had lacerations.

Not surprising, Morgan has three prior DUI convictions: July 1996, August 2005 and April 2008.

Morgan, who has an extensive criminal history, was charged with domestic violence last year, but in August 2012, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct and his sentence was stayed. He was ordered to maintain absolute sobriety and informed that any violations could result in new charges.

Morgan faces charges of misdemeanor DUI-4th Offense and DUI-Causing Injury in the freeway crash, with up to seven years in prison, if convicted.

I am not certain a complete alcohol awareness course is all that Morgan needs to address his obvious problem with alcohol. I do happen to think an alcohol class is a good place to start.

Utah Teens Need Minor in Possession Class

There is no doubt that the campaign against drinking alcohol and doing drugs is strong in the state of Utah. But people are people, and teens are teens, so there always will exist the need for alcohol classes and minor in possession (MIP) classes.

Utah teenagers drink alcohol less often than their peers from other states, but those who do consume alcohol binge drink more frequently than other teens who drink. As reported in

About 17% of Utah high school seniors surveyed said they had drank alcohol in the past month — less than half national figure of 40%, according to a report from the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health.

But of those Utah seniors who reported drinking, 72% said they had been binge drinking in the past month. That's significantly higher than the national average of 55%.

We can only speculate why kids are binge drinking, but it could be that it has to do with our culture. There might be some push-back in a state known for being very anti-alcohol (due primarily to the influence of the Mormon church). There might be some rebelliousness.

At least 62% of the 2.8 million people living in Utah are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which teaches its members to abstain from drinking alcohol.

Utah's drinking laws are among the strictest in the country. One law forbids restaurant workers from pouring alcohol in front of customers. There are no private liquor stores, and at the 44 state-run liquor stores beer is not refrigerated. It is sold warm, sitting on shelves.

I hope that Utah continues to support online minor in possession classes for underage drinkers and works toward educating teens about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

Denver Broncos Organization May Need an Alcohol Class

With three driving under the influence violations in the last six months it is obvious there is something going on up in Dove Valley (the headquarters of the Denver Broncos).

To be sure, the past few days have been tricky for the Broncos to navigate with both director of pro personnel Tom Heckert and director of player personnel Matt Russell arrested for DUI. As reported in

But when observers from other teams look at what Denver, and the league as a whole, went through as a result of the high-profile nature of the incidents, there is indeed something to be gained.

The Broncos have suspended Heckert for a month without pay, and Russell indefinitely, yet they still make excuses that the pressure of the job may be the culprit. The organization seems more bent on punishing its employees than solving the problem of alcohol abuse.

Both Russell and Heckert will go through an evaluation and get treatment as needed, as any player would, and the opportunities for education that players get are there. Most of the programs -- many clubs run a SafeRides-like program -- that are there for the guys who perform between the lines are there for those outside of them, too.

Should these two be held to a higher standard? The standard itself should be a matter of common sense, and not one that needs to be written in a memo.

Once again I ask Mr. Elway to implement mandatory online alcohol classes for all employees of the organization. We would be there to help.

Denver Broncos Must Implement Online DUI Course

I have long espoused the need for mandatory alcohol and DUI educational programs for organizations where alcohol seems to be an issue. The Denver Broncos football team, a proud member of the National Football League, needs to implement mandatory online alcohol education and DUI courses for both players and front office personnel immediately.

Obviously there is something wrong with the air in the Mile High City. Not only have residents legalized marijuana for recreational purposes, but their sports teams seem to suffer from an abnormally high rate of DUI behavior. In the last six months Colorado Rockies legend Todd Helton was busted for DUI after driving to the store to buy chewing tobacco and lottery tickets. As reported in

More recently two prominent members of the Donkeys’ front office staff have been busted for DUI too.

Denver Broncos president Joe Ellis hit "send" on an email the likes of which plenty of other executives have surely had to distribute.

Maybe they've stemmed from a couple of incidents around holiday parties for the insurance company boss, or a few things that went down over Memorial Day weekend for the hedge-fund manager, or some embarrassing episode at a convention for the sales team.

The difference here, in the case of the missive sent by Ellis, is twofold. First, because of the high-profile nature of the team and the league in which it plays, Ellis can't quietly discipline his employees, make an example for everyone else, and move on. And second, no matter how he decided to take action -- in this case, it meant suspending director of pro personnel Tom Heckert for a month and director of player Matt Russell indefinitely after their arrests for driving under the influence -- there was going to be a segment of his employees watching closely for double standards.

I certainly believe John Elway should implement mandatory online alcohol classes for all players and employees of the Broncos organization.

Indian Teens Could USE Online MIP Class

There is no doubt the United States has a problem with underage consumption of fermented beverages. At least our bars and restaurants do their best not to serve minors. Have you heard about the problem they are having in India?

The Blame Game As reported in

Parents are at their wits end in India since the police and pub owners refuse to stop pubs from hosting minors. However, the police maintain that they have been doing their job, and that if kids enter a pub, it is the parents who are failing to stop them.

The club didn't verify the age of the entrants and was serving them. Initially, when the parents came, they were quarreling with the police and asking why their children were arrested. But after seeing the condition of their kids, they realized that their children were at fault. Many kids had come to the pub after telling their parents that they were going out for tuition classes or a movie. The checking of pubs is in place. It's the parents who have to keep tabs on their kids.

Opinion in the country is divided on who should take the blame if an underage teen ends up at a pub or an illegal hookah joint. In a city like Gurgaon, whose malls are lined with pubs, how do you stop a teenager from walking into one as easily as they would enter a store or a cafeteria? Gurgaon pubs don't fear police and let kids in.

How scary would it be if you could not leave your teenager at the mall because you were worried they would get drunk in a pub or stoned in a hookah joint? India needs to do some serious work to curb this alarming trend. What do you think?

New Alcohol Law or DUI School?

This is the second in a series of blogs looking at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommending that the government lower the legal limit for blood-alcohol concentration from .08 to .05. If this is the first you have heard of this, ask yourself a question – are you for or against lowering the limit?

As a counselor for both in-class and online alcohol and drug classes I am discussing this very question with my students. Do you think you will be surprised by their reactions?

In my previous minor in possession (MIP) class of 12 students every student was against lowering the BAC to .05. One mother who came to pick up her son and I discussed the issue after class. She too was confounded with the notion. She is only 5-foot-one-inch tall and weighs less than 100 pounds. She would be unable to have one glass of wine at a restaurant and drive home.

Personally, I cannot see this recommendation passing. It was difficult enough to get the BAC reduced from .10 to .08. Our laws, especially on the state level, are becoming more relaxed with respect to the criminality of drugs rather than stricter.

What do you think?

Facebook and Twitter Changing Drunk Driving History

How can that title be possible? Is Facebook that big and powerful? It sure is!

As a counselor for both in-class and online alcohol classes and online drug classes I am learning about the most recent trend to warn other drivers about DUI checkpoint locations.

I am sure if the technology was available to me back in my crazy days I would have used it to. Is this sharing of information strong enough to get rid of DUI checkpoints altogether? It certainly is causing police to think outside of the box.

At first, it seems that police were a little bemused by the very idea that people wouldn't want other people to be caught by the police.

Now, however, some police forces have decided to use more sprightly tactics to ensnare those who are unwise enough to imbibe and drive.

Is it possible that big checkpoints may be on the way out?

They're too obvious, take too long to set up and word travels too quickly, as they're so often located on busy roads -- on the shooting-fish-in-barrel principle.

Now, some police forces say they are using roads less traveled and even setting up in the middle of the week in order to catch their quota.

Is informing others on Facebook and Twitter that the police are out in force truly undermining enforcement efforts? Or does it, in fact, show a peculiar form of solidarity that isn't always evident in other aspects of social life? Banding together to fight the system is common, but in this case it is plain wrong.

Not Too Smart to Show Up to DUI School Drunk

If I have said it once, I have said it a million times; alcohol makes people do stupid things. A person who does not drink cannot even conceive of getting behind the wheel of their car if they are remotely affected. They know that any form of inebriation is dangerous when combined with operating a vehicle.

Alcohol is addictive and many who start drinking wind up as alcoholics. The vast majority of alcoholics have no problem drinking and driving. Alcohol has caused them to be able to justify their DUI behavior in their mind. As reported in

Alcohol has trained the brain!

A brain on alcohol decides to do stupid things. Take Linda Jordan for example. She was already facing a DWI charge when she showed up to an alcohol education course intoxicated.

The 57-year-old woman from New York tested positive for alcohol. Instead of taking a class and getting her DUI wiped off the books, she now faces additional charges.

Adding insult to injury – another bad decision - when Jordan tested positive for alcohol and was refused entry, she left the class in her own car, though a cab had been called for her, police said. She was stopped a short time after and charged with DWI.

Dumb, dumb dumb – alcohol makes people dumb.