Articles Posted in Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol

Juslos-angeles-DUI-celebrity-DUIstin Bieber. Lindsey Lohan. Paris Hilton. Kevin Hart. Chris Pine. Reese Witherspoon. Bella Hadid. This list represents a mere handful of known names who have been charged with DUI in Los Angeles (and elsewhere) over the past 10 years, with many others right alongside. It seems so commonplace that, as HuffPost reports, during an appearance on, Jason Priestly joked with Chelsea Handler on her show Chelsea Lately about his own DUI. “What self-respecting Los Angeleno doesn’t have a DUI under their belt?” he said. The joke was accompanied by high-fives with Handler, who, not surprisingly, also has a DUI on her record.

Aside from the controversy of famous people downplaying the seriousness of impaired driving, salacious reports of celebrity wrongdoing have been the guilty pleasure of millions of people for as long as anyone can remember. These impulses of ours are what keep websites like TMZ and The National Enquirer in business.

The question is: Why?

As the Ne2018-habits-to-improve-driving-for-DUI-defedants-300x150w Year gets underway, millions of people are trying to keep those resolutions they made over the holidays. Some of the most common resolutions are health related (e.g., get in shape, quit smoking, lose weight, eat healthy). However, let me propose an alternative resolution if you haven’t picked one yet: What about learning better driving habits (especially if police recently stopped you for a Los Angeles DUI)? Becoming a safer driver could be the healthiest choice of all—because it affects not just you, but everyone around you. Here in California where good driving habits seem scarce, why not become the exception to the rule? Let’s take a look at three smart driving habits you should consider adopting this year.

1. Know When Not to Drive

Ironically, one of the most important decisions you can make as a driver is the decision to let someone else get behind the wheel. If you’ve ever been arrested for DUI, this issue should be top-of-mind. However, avoiding DUI begins long before you find yourself in a bad situation. It starts with a quality decision not to drive if you indulge in alcohol or drugs, and moves forward from there.

santa-DUI-los-angeles-300x225For many of us, the holiday season is intended to be a time for celebrating with family and friends, a time of joy and merriment. However, few things can put a bigger damper on the celebrations quicker than a DUI arrest—and DUI incidents spike considerably over the holidays, compared to the rest of the year.

Here in Southern California, the Los Angeles Police Department has already announced an increased number of sobriety checkpoints throughout L.A., from December 15 through January 1, as part of their “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. Officer Inman of the Traffic Coordination Section explained:

“This holiday season, drivers will notice increased enforcement watching closely for anyone who is driving impaired.… With extra travelers on the roads and people celebrating, we will likely see an uptick in impaired driving. The LAPD will be arresting anyone caught driving impaired.”

Under California law, “driving under the influence” (DUI) doesn’t just apply to alcohol. It also encompasses the use prescription-drug-DUI-los-angelesof any drug that may impair your ability to operate a vehicle. That includes illegal drugs, prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications. In other words, if an officer pulls you over and suspects you are impaired due to the use of drugs—even those you’re legally allowed to take—he can still arrest you under suspicion of DUI.

Most of us understand the dangers of combining alcohol with driving, but statistically, far fewer people understand or recognize prescription drugs’ effects on our ability to drive. Let’s look at a few startling numbers, courtesy of AAA:

• Nearly 50 percent of Americans say they have taken prescription drugs within the past 30 days. Thirty-one percent take at least two prescriptions.

Fact: You don’t have to be driving a car, truck or motorcycle to be charged with DUI. In fact, people across the world have faced DUI charges for driving all sorts of non-standard vehicles, from boats to riding mowers to…well, let’s not spoil it here. Just take a look at the following crazy DUI stories we scoured from the web recently.drunk-santa-los-angeles-DUI-defense-300x194

Incident on a Bridge: Motorized Wheelchair

According to Florida law, drivers under the influence can be charged for operating any type of motorized vehicle—including, as one man discovered, a motorized wheelchair.

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.

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