Articles Posted in Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol

self-driving-car-DUI-300x169Few people these days would dispute the idea that fully autonomous vehicles are in our future, probably sooner than we think. Many of our cars are already parking for us, many are equipped to brake automatically to avoid collisions, and many self-driving prototypes are already in development. But what will these advancements do to our current DUI laws? Will our cars truly be so autonomous that intoxicated drivers will be able to use them as taxis? Will DUI laws become obsolete?

Not so fast.

At the annual meeting of the Governors Highway Safety Association, which took place in Louisville, KY in September, autonomous vehicles dominated the conversation, particularly in the context of open container laws. “Autonomous vehicles can be a designated driver,” said Russ Martin, director of government relations for the GHSA in comments after the meeting. “But at a certain point the law is going to have to draw a line somewhere as when it’s safe to do so…Right now, in most states it’s illegal to have an open container of alcohol while you’re driving…What about open container laws? Do they need to be modified or qualified, depending on the level of automation?”

uber-driver-DUIIt’s bad enough that a DUI conviction can wipe out your bank account or drive up your credit card bill. Between the fines, court costs and other associated expenses—like DUI driver school tuition and added commuting costs—you could pay as much as $7,500 out of pocket. But you could also face a longer-term problem of unemployment. When you lose your job because of a DUI or struggle to get a new one afterwards, it adds insult to injury.

If you’ve been earning some extra cash as an Uber or a Lyft driver, you’ll have to find another way to fill your wallet. Uber is already fairly picky about DUIs on a driving record; in California, Uber won’t even hire you if your record shows that you’ve had a DUI within the last 10 years.

But what if you’ve been working as an Uber driver, and then you get a DUI? Will you be able to keep driving?

Every 51 minutes, someone in the U.S. dies in an alcohol-related motor vehicle accident. Everyone—DUI defendants included!—agrees that we need to “do something” to dramatically reduce this number, but there’s no agreement on what that solution should be. Traditionally, our system has been heavy on the sticks, light on the carrots. We punish DUI drivers tremendously—by stripping them of driving privileges, fining them, sending them to jail, hiking their insurance rates, and beyond. How well is this “heavy on the punitive” system working? Well, take a look at the first sentence in this paragraph—one death every 51 minutes. If we want to do better—and we can—we need to look beyond the punitive and consider other ways to shore up our system, deter unwanted behavior, reward compliant behavior and solve the (challenging and often deeply psychologically rooted) issues that encourage unfortunate behavior behind the wheel.DUI-51-minutes-300x94

In a previous post, we looked at the current and future technologies that could address DUI deterrence. Now we’ll consider some of the other proposed solutions.

Lowering the BAC limit?

If statistics alone could get people to change their behavior, drivers might pause before getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. But as you know empirically—perhaps because you’ve been arrested recently for DUI, or perhaps because a loved one just called you from jail in emotional distress because of an arrest—it’s not so simple. Why do drivers make poor/reckless decisions? And what can be done about the problem of DUI—on a community-wide or city-wide level—to make things safer for everyone?fix-society-dui-problem-258x300

In this post and a subsequent one, we’ll take an unbiased (well, as unbiased as possible) look at the science and possible solutions.

You probably are already all too familiar with facts like these from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention:

Dealing with the aftereffects of a DUI is never easy. It’s especially difficult, however, when you’re living on the economic edge: if you’re a single mom who’s working two jobs and struggling to make ends meet, a student working your way through school or a veteran or retiree living on a fixed and very limited income. no-car-los-angeles-DUI

You’ll have to find a way to pay the cost of fines and court-mandated DUI classes. If you’re depended on your car to get to your job or to your school, you’ll have to search for an alternate mode of transportation. But one good thing about living in the Los Angeles area is that you may have more options for coping with the crisis than someone who lives in more rural areas.

Getting around

Whether you ran a light on Sunset after partying too hard at Chateau Marmont; found yourself in police custody after speeding on Mulholland following an industry party in the hills; or faced an agonizing night behind bars after being stopped at a checkpoint near the 101, you’re feeling emotionally hung over from your DUI arrest. That’s natural, even if you did nothing wrong or if the charges against you are relatively minor.leaning-tower-of-pisa-DUI-300x168

It is possible, though, that your recent DUI arrest constituted one of the biggest mistakes in your life. Perhaps you hurt someone or damaged property or just embarrassed yourself hugely in front of work colleagues. And now the guilt is tearing you up. But it’s crucial to take a breath, be strategic and keep what’s happening to you in perspective.

First of all: we all make mistakes. Second of all, we cannot change the past. Those are both trite sayings, but they’re both true and appropriate to the moment.

Most people are fairly familiar with the effects that drinking alcohol can have on their driving performance. Alcohol loosens inhibitions, so people are apt to take more risks even as their reaction times are slowed, and they can become more easily distracted and unable to concentrate on driving. Alcohol can also impact a driver’s sense of direction and their ability to judge situations on the road and make good decisions.drug-dui-los-angeles-defense-attorney

Other types of drugs have similar, although not identical effects. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s most recent National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers found that the number of drivers with alcohol in their system had declined by nearly one-third since 2007. But there wasn’t much cause for celebration; the survey also found a large increase in the number of drivers using marijuana or other illegal drugs. Nearly one in four drivers tested positive for at least one drug that could affect their safety on the road, according to the NHTSA.

Here’s a look at how several other types of drugs can impact drivers’ performance.

California driving under the influence (DUI) penalties are harsh. Complex state statutes control DUI driving penalties, with a range of possible sentences. A DUI can result in thousands of dollars in fines, jail time, mandatory alcohol treatment programs, and loss of driver’s license. The maximum penalty for a first DUI conviction in California is $3,600 in expenses, six months in jail, six-month license suspension (10 months for blood alcohol concentration [BAC] levels of 0.15% or more), vehicle impoundment for 30 days, and a mandatory interlock breath device in your vehicle. If you’re about to lose your driver’s license or driving privileges after a DUI in Los Angeles, here’s what you need to know.california_driver_license_los-angeles-DUI-suspension-300x226

Understanding DUI License Suspension Penalties in California

Speak to a qualified DUI attorney to avoid or minimize penalties, such as the following:

A Los Angeles DUI arrest and/or conviction can be a wakeup call for many people. It forces them to confront the fact that they may have a problem with addiction to alcohol or drugs and need to seek treatment.2-10-17-dui-los-angeles-addiction-300x169

The problem is finding a treatment program that will be effective in helping them fight and overcome their addiction.

Is AA really effective?

In California, penalties for a first time DUI can take a big chunk out of a bank account—at least $1,800 in penalties and fines, plus the cost of attending DUI driving school (if required), and the expense of installing an ignition interlock system, which courts can now require for even first-time offenders. DUI-los-angeles-effect-on-auto-insurance-300x199

But there’s another expense that some drivers convicted of DUI don’t immediately consider—the huge rise that they’re likely to see in their auto insurance premium rates. According to the financial website nerdwallet.com, average good drivers in California can expect their insurance premiums to more than double if they are convicted of DUI. The nerdwallet research revealed that a 25-year old with a DUI would pay about $1,300, while one with a DUI on record would pay about $4,000. A 50-year-old who normally paid about $1,060 could expect to pay $3,275 after a DUI conviction.

The extra cost of auto insurance as a result of a DUI will depend upon:

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