Fewer motorists in California and around the country are getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The agency's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration compiles data about alcohol, tobacco and drug use in the United States, and its 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicates that drunk driving rates have been falling steadily for at least 13 years.
When ascertaining one's sobriety, law enforcement officers are typically not checking for the influence of things like sugar or caffeine. However, one case of drunk driving in California reportedly involved no alcohol but caffeine instead.
California legalized the recreational use of marijuana on Nov.8, 2016. With more than half the 50 states having relaxed drug laws, concern is mounting over the potential for more people driving while they are impaired.
On Sept. 28, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1046 into law. The legislation would require most drivers in California who have been convicted of a DUI to have a device similar to a Breathalyzer installed in their vehicles. It continues a pilot program ongoing in four counties that has prevented 125,000 attempts by drivers to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher.
As numerous states have passed legislation to provide for some type of legal marijuana use, California voters will be seeing such an initiative on the ballot this November. Law enforcement authorities could be faced with some significant challenges related to the potential legal use of marijuana, especially where driving is concerned. One of the first challenges is determining how to accurately measure the level of intoxication while in the field. Another challenge is the determination of intoxication limits for drivers.
According to new research, one of the best ways parents in California can prevent their teenagers from drinking is by having clear rules forbidding it. The study was conducted with 1,100 teens and young adults who live in 24 different cities across seven states.
A research team from the University of Southern California and England's Oxford University has concluded that ride sharing services like those offered by Uber and Lyft do not have any significant impact on drunk driving fatalities. The researchers came to their conclusions after studying drunk driving fatality rates in 100 densely populated urban areas both before and after ride sharing services were introduced. The research was published on July 22 in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
California hockey fans might be interested in learning that Ray Bourque, a former star of the Bruins, was recently sentenced to spend one year on probation after being sentenced for an operating under the influence conviction in Andover, Massachusetts. Bourque also reportedly lost his license for 225 days.
California residents may be aware that the same amount of marijuana can affect individuals differently. The presence of THC in a person's blood stream can also be detected long after the drug's effects have worn off. These are a couple of the reasons why AAA wants to see an end to the legal blood-test threshold for THC that is used to convict people of impaired driving in some states.
California fans of suspended NFL player Justin Blackmon are probably aware of his multiple charges related to substance abuse that led to his suspension from playing in 2013. In December of 2015, he was taken into custody again after being stopped in Oklahoma for a problem with a brake light. Reportedly, he said he had only had two drinks, but because of his slow speech, the officer asked him to submit to a field sobriety test. When he performed poorly, the officer did a preliminary breath test that Blackmon did not pass. Officers say he refused a Breathalyzer test, and he later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor DUI.