Should All Public Officials Enroll in Online DUI Class?

I have asked this question before, but I feel it needs to be raised once again: should public officials be held to higher standards than ordinary citizens when it comes to driving under the influence?

I ask this question because yet another official is losing his job over a driving under the influence (DUI) violation. An elected official in Black Mountain, North Carolina was forced to resign after being arrested for driving with blood alcohol level at nearly four times the legal limit. Is four times the legal limit any worse than just over the legal limit? As reported in

Democrat Tim Rayburn, both Vice Mayor and Alderman of Black Mountain, was driving a fire department SUV at the time of the arrest. He registered a blood alcohol level of 0.30 when tested by authorities.

An officer with the N.C. Highway Patrol arrested Rayburn at the Candler fire station after a motorist called before noon to report the fire department’s SUV being driven erratically. The motorist followed the SUV to the fire station. Rayburn denies that his resignation has anything to do with the arrest.

Despite this indiscretion, Rayburn said that he will be keeping his name on the ballot for his re-election this coming November despite his resignation.

He was suspended with pay from his position as chief of the Enka Candler Fire and Rescue Department.

Perhaps he needs more than just losing his job. He needs a 30 hour internet based alcohol class and counseling for what very well may be a serious alcohol problem. I certainly hope he does not win re-election.

Computer Based Alcohol Course Keeps You From Being Statistic

Let’s face it – we live in a world of statistics. They dictate virtually every aspect of our lives. Most of the time we do not even know it. Here are some stats you should seriously consider digesting.

It is well known that young drivers are more likely than older ones to have accidents. But a visual analysis of national data on drunken driving puts the disparity into stark relief — and suggests whose lives might be saved by a proposal to lower the legal blood-alcohol limit. The recommendation, by the National Transportation Safety Board, urges the 50 states and the District of Columbia to lower the limit of 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent, the standard in most industrialized countries. As reported in

How do you feel about that?

Drivers younger than 26 cause the most auto fatalities in the United States, regardless of alcohol consumption. But 21 percent of young drivers involved in a fatal accident have some alcohol in their system — higher than in other age groups. Researchers have shown that even a small amount of alcohol can disrupt a person’s ability to concentrate or do two things at once. For less experienced drivers, one or two drinks can cause the loss of reasoning and reaction time that might result in a fatal crash.

More than 6,600 impaired drivers are involved in fatal accidents every year, causing about 10,000 deaths. About half of those accidents are caused by drivers with blood alcohol levels at or below 0.16 percent.

Seriously, now is the time to ponder the issue at hand. Should we consider lowering the BAC limit? I welcome your thoughts.

Take an Internet DUI Awareness Class Before Piloting a Boat

Drinking and operating any motor vehicle is extremely dangerous. This definitely includes watercraft. I have been a strong proponent of mandating an alcohol class for anyone wishing to receive a license to pilot a boat. An alcohol class should be mandatory for all motor vehicles.

Alcohol use has been the top contributing factor in fatal boating accidents for the past 15 years, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Since 2003, on average, 124 people have died each year in the U.S. in accidents where alcohol was to blame. As reported in

A strategic plan by the Coast Guard, overseer of the congressional mandated National Recreational Boating Safety Program, calls for a 5% overall reduction in the number of alcohol-related deaths by 2016.

Part of the Coast Guard’s plan has been to give state and local agencies better tools to combat boating under the influence. Marine officers in 38 states are now using a Coast Guard-funded seated sobriety test. The battery of evaluations includes suspects touching their fingers to their noses and following palm pat instructions among other things while seated in their boats.

Field sobriety tests are much different out on the water. When you’re out on a boat, it’s pretty hard to have somebody walk the white line.

There is no doubt that mandating a DUI awareness class before receiving a pilot’s license is a no-brainer. What do you think?

Drinking and Boating Will Land You in More Than an Alcohol Awareness Class

Have you ever piloted a boat while consuming alcohol? Have you been with someone who had been drinking booze and operating a boat? Drinking and boating is a major problem.

When confronted many drunken captains say they did not think they were doing anything wrong. How can that be? As reported in

Driving under the influence (DUI) laws are the same in most states as operating a car. As a counselor for both in-class and online alcohol classes I am shocked when my students say they don’t see drinking and boating as a problem.

Some of the most celebrated boat names on the Internet are telling of society’s acceptance toward drinking on the open water are, “Boatweiser”, “Aqua-holic” and “Cirrhosis Of The River.”

A six-pack of beer and boating go together like a peanut butter and jelly. There are still a lot of people that think that’s just the way it is.

Given the heat of the summer, fatal boat accidents where alcohol is believed to have played a role seem relentless this time of year.

Last week, a 33-year-old Idaho woman died when the jet boat she was riding in ran aground off the Snake River near Idaho Falls. The vessel’s driver was drunk.

In late July, a bride-to-be and her fiancé’s best man were killed in a crash on the Hudson River in New Jersey. The man piloting the powerboat was intoxicated.

I would like to see computerized mandatory alcohol courses for anyone looking to obtain a pilot’s license for a boat. What do you think?

Ashton Kutcher’s Former Co-Star Needed 30 Hour Alcohol Awareness Class

The tales of Hollywood tragedies involving young actors and actresses and drugs are many. The latest was a former co-star of Ashton Kutcher, troubled actress Lisa Robin Kelly, best known for playing Laurie Forman on "That '70s Show," who died August 14th at the age of 43.

The star had recently checked herself into rehab after struggling with alcoholism and other addiction issues for years. The cause of death has not been determined. As reported in

Kelly's new boyfriend took her to rehab earlier this week, but it was too late as it appears the actress suffered a fatal cardiac arrest.

Kelly was a veteran actress who got her start in 1992 on "Married… With Children." Her credits included "Murphy Brown," "Charmed," and "Silk Stockings."

On "That '70s Show," the she played the promiscuous elder sister of Topher Grace's Eric Forman for five years. Her character was written out, though Kelly returned for a few episodes in Season 5. Then, she was replaced by Christina Moore in Season 6.

She admitted that her drinking problems stemmed from a miscarriage. Alcoholism plagued Kelly for years after that. In 2010, she was charged with a DUI and served probation. Last year, she was arrested for domestic violence against her ex-boyfriend.

Last November, both Kelly and her now-estranged husband Robert Gilliam were arrested for assault after a domestic disturbance. Gilliam was convicted of domestic battery and sentenced to three years of probation. And just a few months ago, in June, Kelly was arrested for another DUI.

Another shining example of a Hollywood life gone wrong. I would like to think that a 30 hour alcohol and or drug educational class early on, might have made a difference. What do you think?

Rapper Kat Dahlia in Need of an Alcohol Education Program

In a world filled with statistics one that begs to be asked is “how often are celebrities arrested for driving under the influence (DUI)?” This stat would not even take into account those who do not get caught.

In discussing this statistic we would have to define the term “celebrity.” I would take it to be any entertainer or politician whose arrest is covered by some entity. That would include a rapper like Kat Dahlia who was arrested recently in Florida. As reported in

The "Gangsta" singer was busted for DUI around 3 a.m. in Miami. She apparently had way too much to drink at her birthday party.

It comes as no surprise that the officer who pulled over her 2013 Nissan smelled a strong odor of alcohol emanated from the vehicle. The officer claims Dahlia's speech was heavily slurred as well, so the officer asked her to exit her vehicle -- at which point, Dahlia began to grow belligerent. Dahlia refused to complete a field sobriety test, and started cussing at the officer instead.

Dahlia was then placed under arrest, but allegedly resisted by refusing to put her hands behind her back. The officer had to force Dahlia's hands in order to cuff her.

Dahlia was subsequently transported to a nearby police station and booked for misdemeanor DUI and resisting arrest.

Nice way to start her 24th year, right? I hope she takes an alcohol and drug course and makes the smart choice not to consume alcoholic beverages in the future. I would hate to see become yet another statistic.

Drunken Captain Heading to DUI Class

How many times have you been out enjoying a day on the water when the captain was tipping back a few cold ones? I can tell you on the lakes, rivers and oceans when I was a kid there were a lot of folks drinking and piloting a boat.

Unfortunately, that still is the case today. This time, like many others, the result is tragic. As reported in

A bride and her fiancé’s best man are dead after a boating accident in New York back in July, just two weeks before their wedding day.

Two bodies, believed to be the bride-to-be, Lindsey Stewart, and the best man, Brian Bond, were recovered in the Hudson River.

Stewart and Bond were two passengers on a power boat when it slammed into a construction barge near the Tappan Zee Bridge. Both were thrown from the boat.

The driver of the boat, Jojo John, was arrested and charged with first-degree vehicular manslaughter and three counts of second-degree vehicular assault. John was intoxicated at the time of the accident.

The Blood Alcohol Concentration limit is .08, the same as it is for a DUI. However, in many states those receiving a BUI does not impact road driving privileges, just as receiving a DUI does not impact boat-driving privileges.

John may spend many years behind bars. His life, and those who love and care about him, will never be the same. The lives of his victims and those who care about them are destroyed and broken.

NFL Star Heading to DWI Program

If I tried hard enough I blog about a celebrity in trouble with drugs or alcohol every single day. The fact is celebrities get in trouble a lot, and there are way too many people out there with cameras and video recorders to catch it on tape.

Is there ever a silver lining when a celebrity gets a DUI? The answer is a resounding yes. Here is, hopefully, a little silver lining.

Sounding contrite and determined to atone for his DUI, New Orleans Saints wide receiver Joe Morgan said he is working hard to win a starter's job in training camp while dealing with the fallout from his arrest over Memorial Day weekend.

Morgan is currently enrolled in Stage One of the NFL's substance abuse program and likely will require him to undergo random testing under terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

In the meantime, Morgan is going about his business in training camp, battling Nick Toon, fifth-round draft pick Kenny Stills Jr., special teams captain Courtney Roby and others for the third spot on the depth chart behind veteran wide receivers Marques Colston and Lance Moore.

Morgan is determined to let the incident be a wake-up call that he needs to be smart. Part of being smart is understanding the situation and staying away from alcohol and drugs and DUI behavior.

I hope he continues in his alcohol class and stays focused on his life, his health and his sobriety.

DWI Course: A Good Way To Keep Drunken Drivers Off the Road

Virginia's DUI ignition interlock law is now a little over a year old and AAA says it's working to keep drunk drivers off the roads.

Roughly 8,500 people now have a device installed in their vehicle. As reported in

That's compared to less than 5,000 who did before the law went into effect.

AAA Mid-Atlantic Spokesperson Tammy Gobert says Virginia's law is a standout even on the national scale. It requires everyone who's been convicted of drunk driving -- even first time offenders -- to use one of these.

"Much like a breathalyzer test, they have to blow onto the device before they can even start the vehicle and they have to make sure they blow a .02 or less before they can even go."

Since the law was enacted on July 1, 2012, there's been a 75 percent spike in usage and that number will rise as more DUI cases move through the court system.

There were nearly 8,800 alcohol-related crashes in Virginia in 2012. 229 people died.

There's more work to do but AAA says these devices are keeping potential killers off the road.

Even drivers convicted for the first time are required to use one for six months, serving as a constant reminder of the consequences of getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink.

"Not all states have that requirement but it is definitely a requirement for the state of Virginia," Gobert says.

"Mothers Against Drunk Driving believes Virginia's Ignition Interlock laws will save many lives," says Chris Konschak, of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Virginia Office. "The data released by AAA today showing that the number of people on ignition interlocks today is almost twice the number that were on them last year is a great news."

"People who demonstrated that they were willing to put the lives of anyone they encountered on the roads at risk as well as their own by driving drunk are now required to have an ignition interlock. This is a public safety measure that benefits everyone."

No Sign More Powerful for Need to Take an Online Alcohol Course

There are many signs someone has a problem with alcohol. If you are to the point where you drink and drive regularly, believing you are okay to drive – you have a problem.

If you drive even once with kids in your car while drunk – you have a problem. As reported in

I you think you are doing a good job of hiding your alcohol addiction from your family and kids, think again. Here is a story that shows the father is in dire need of an alcohol class and an intervention.

A 10-year-old boy is recovering at his mother's home from cuts and bruises suffered in a car accident after he called 911 and threatened to jump from the vehicle because his father was driving under the influence.

The father, 49-year-old Owen Gilman of Warwick, R.I., was charged with driving under the influence and assault with a motor vehicle.

My hope is that Gilman sees the evil of his ways. I hope he seeks out a complete alcohol educational program and decides to lead a clean and sober life. If you know someone like Gilman, please encourage them to seek help.