Cracking down on impaired drivers

Troopers train to conduct field sobriety tests, even catching those under .08

            DUI Training

OFFICE AT THE NUMBER YOU SEE ON THE SCREEN, 264-6512. A FLORIDA HOUSE PASSED A BILL TO ALLOW TRAINED OFFICIALS TO CARRY GUNS IN SCHOOL. IT MAY NOT BECOME LAW THIS YEAR. THE HOUSE VOTE WAS 71-44 FOLLOWING AN EMOTIONAL DEBATE. THE BILL WOULD ALLOW SCHOOL BOARD TO DEVELOP A POLICY TO ALLOW RETIRED POLICE OR FORMER MILITARY PERSONNEL TO CARRY CONCEALED WEAPONS AT SCHOOLS. OPPONENTS SAY THE PRESENCE OF MORE GUNS AT SCHOOL INCREASES THE CHANCES FOR ANOTHER VIOLENT INCIDENT BUT THE BILL’S SPONSOR SAYS HAVING ARMED OFFICIALS IS CRITICAL WHEN SECONDS COUNT. UNFORTUNATELY THE INCIDENTS HAPPEN SO QUICKLY, IF SOMEBODY IS NOT PROPERLY TRAINED AND ARMED ON CAMPUSES TO RESPOND TO AN ACTIVE SHOOTER, THEY’RE GOING TO BE AT THE MERCY OF THE ACTIVE SHOOTER UNTIL LAW ENFORCEMENT GETS THERE. ALTHOUGH THE HOUSE PASSED IT, THE BILL HAS NOT BEEN HEARD IN ANY SENATE COMMITTEE. WITH ONLY FOUR DAYS LEFT IN THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION, IT’S UNLIKELY THE SENATE WILL TAKE UP THE BILL. THIS THURSDAY, CHANNEL 4 WILL EXAMINE GUNS HERE IN FLORIDA. IT’S AN ALL DAY SOCIAL TV EVENT WE’RE CALLING PROJECT 4, FIREARMS IN FLORIDA. WE’LL HAVE SPECIAL REPORTS EVERY HOUR DURING OUR NEWS, COVERING ALL THE ANGLES, INCLUDING WHAT IT TAKES TO LEGALLY CARRY A GUN. AND WE’LL INTRODUCE TO A LOCAL WOMAN WHO WAS THREATENED BY AN INTRUDER. WE’LL BRING IT TO YOU LIVE ON news4jax.com. ONE DRINK BY ONE DRIVER CAN CHANGE AND RUIN COUNTLESS LIVES. IN A WORD OF WARNING, JUST BECAUSE YOUR BLOOD ALCOHOL LEVEL IS UNDER THE LEGAL LIMIT OF .08 DOES NOT MEAN YOU WON’T GET ARRESTED. HAILEY WINSLOW SHOWS US HOW STATE TROOPERS ARE TRAINING TO CATCH IMPAIRED DRIVERS AND WHY IT’S SO PERSONAL FOR SO MANY OF THEM. THE CARS SO MANGLED, HARD TO MAKE OUT. IMAGINE WHAT IT WAS LIKE FOR THE PERSON INSIDE. IT WAS ST. JOHNS COUNTY DEPUTY JAMES ANDERSON, KILLED BY A DRUNK DRIVER GOING THE WRONG WAY. THE SIMILAR SCENE AT OTHER D.U.I. CRASHES. THE PART THAT’S FRUSTRATING FOR US IS THE FACT IT’S 100% PREVENTABLE. BUT TIME AND TIME AGAIN, PEOPLE CHOOSE TO DRINK AND CRANK THE ENGINE. AND IT LEADS TO THIS. NO EASY WAY TO TELL THE FAMILY THAT THEIR LOVED ONE IS NOT COMING HOME. IT WAS SHRIEK AFTER SHRIEK, THE CORPORAL HEARD IN FAMILY LIVING ROOMS AFTER TELLING MOTHERS THEY LOST THEIR CHILDREN OR HUSBANDS THAT THEIR WIFE IS DIED BEFORE HE DECIDED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. TEACH THIS CLASS. ADVANCED D.U.I. TRAINING FOR OFFICERS TO HONE THEIR SKILLS. HIS HELPERS, PEOPLE UNDER THE INFLUENCE. THIS IS ONE OF FOUR VOLUNTEERS TROOPERS DOESED FOR THE COURSE. THEY WERE GIVEN A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF ALCOHOL OVER THE COURSE OF THREE HOURS ON AN EMPTY STOMACH WITH A LIGHT SNACK. THIS PERSON WAS GIVEN THREE OUNCES OF LIQUOR AT 10 A.M. ANOTHER 45 MINUTES LATER, THEY WERE GIVEN ANOTHER 3 OUNCES. AND THEN AROUND NOON, THEY WERE GIVEN FOUR MORE OUNCES. SO THE LEGAL LIMIT IS .08. THIS PERSON MEASURED AT .094. THE MEASUREMENTS ARE TAKEN EVERY HOUR BY DOSES BLOWING INTO A BREATHALYZER. BOAT WRIGHT IS JUST OVER THE LEGAL LIMIT WHICH ALLOWS OFFICERS TO STUDY HIS BEHAVIOR. HAVING THEM SMELL THE ALCOHOL ON THESE PEOPLE, ACTUALLY PHYSICALLY SEEING THEM AND PERFORMING THE EXERCISES AND GIVING THE ORDERS AND THE INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO DO THE FIELD SOBRIETY EXERCISES. I THINK IT’S BETTER TO SEE IT ACTUALLY IN PERSON THAN ON A VIDEO SCREEN. PUT YOUR LEFT FOOT ON THE WHITE LINE AND YOUR RIGHT FOOT ABOVE IT. 1, 2, 3. VOLUNTEERS ALL WITH THE BLOOD ALCOHOL LEVEL AROUND .08 ARE INSTRUCTED TO FOLLOW THE STUDENT’S FINGER, BOUNCE ON ONE LEG AND TAKE NINE FIELD TO TOE STEPS. WALK IN A STRAIGHT LINE, HOLD YOUR FOOT OUT AND DOING AN EYE TEST. IT WILL OPEN YOUR MIND UP A LITTLE BIT AND SEE THAT WHEN YOU THINK YOU CAN FUNCTION, YOU REALLY CAN’T. CAN’T AT JUST OVER .08. BUT EVEN DRIVERS UNDER THE LEGAL LIMIT AREN’T IN THE CLEAR ONE CAN BE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OR AT A LEVEL INTOXICATED AT A LEVEL OF .08. THE STATE LEGAL LIMIT IS .08. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE AT .08 TO BE IMPAIRED. HE BLEW JUST UNDER THE LEGAL LIMIT BUT TROOPERS SAY THEY STILL WOULD HAVE ARRESTED HIM, BASED ON HIS FIELD SOBRIETY PERFORMANCE. AT THAT MOMENT YOU DON’T THINK IT’S TO HELP YOU BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY IT’S TO HELP YOU MAKE SURE YOU’RE NOT A DANGER TO EVERYBODY ELSE ON THE ROAD. A DANGER EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT TECHNICALLY DRUNK. MOST OF THE EXCUSES WE GET ON THE ROADSIDE IS I DRANK TO GET A BUZZ. BUZZ DRIVING IS DRUNK DRIVING. IF YOU FEEL A BUZZ, YOU’RE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL. WHEN YOU THINK YOU HAVE ONE DRINK AND YOU’RE OKAY TO DRIVE, YOU’RE REALLY NOT. OFFICERS CAN GO THROUGH THIS TYPE OF SPECIALIZED TRAINING, SET UP D.U.I. CHECKPOINTS AND CONTRIBUTE TO PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS. DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE. BUT THEY SAY WHAT IT’S REALLY GOING TO TAKE IS PEOPLE MAKING THE CHOICE NOT TO DRINK AND DRIVE SO CHILDREN LIKE ANDERSON DON’T HAVE TO BURY THEIR DAD. IT’S GOT TO START WITH THE PEOPLE. THEY HAVE TO MAKE BETTER DECISIONS. THAT’S ALL THERE IS TO IT. I SPOKE WITH D.U.I. ATTORNEYS WHO SAY THE FACT YOU CAN BE CONVICTED OF A D.U.I. WHILE BLOWING UNDER THE LEGAL LIMIT IS A CRIME AND A SHAME. THE FIELD SOBRIETY TEST IS BASED ON AN OFFICER’S OPINION. IMPAIRED DRIVING DOESN’T JUST MEAN ALCOHOL. DID THE OFFICERS SAY ANYTHING ABOUT DRUGS OR PRESCRIPTION PILLS AS WELL? OBVIOUSLY PRESCRIPTION PILLS CAN HEIGHTEN THE EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL. AS IT WARNS YOU ON THE BOTTLE, YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO MIX IT WITH ALCOHOL OR GET BEHIND A VEHICLE. OFFICERS ARE ALSO WORRIED ABOUT MARIJUANA, ESPECIALLY WITH THE

                     JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -One person who chooses to drink and drive can change or ruin countless lives.  Unfortunately, not all impaired people behind the wheel will get caught.  But you can be your neighborhood law enforcement is training to catch everyone they can. Officers from around the region recently took part in an advanced DUI training course at Florida Highway Patrol headquarters to help put the brakes on impaired driving.
Senseless deaths like that of St. Johns County Deputy James Anderson, who killed was by a drunk driver going the wrong way, happen all too often.

        But time and time again, people choose to drink and crank the engine.

“What’s most disturbing for me is when it involves children,” said Bryan. “They don’t have a choice.  They’re along for the ride so-to-speak. So they’re acting at the discretion of their legal guardians or parents and these adults are making poor choices and putting the child’s life in jeopardy.”
“There’s no easy way to tell a family that their loved one isn’t coming home,” added St. Johns County Crpl. Dave Rosado.

It was shriek after shriek Rosado says he heard in living rooms, after telling mothers they’ve lost their children, or husbands their wives were dead. He decided to do something about it; teach an advanced DUI training course to help officers hone their skills. His helpers are people under the influence.
“I could not operate a vehicle right now,” slurred Shavon Boatwright, one of four volunteers troopers “dosed” for the course.
        The “dosees” were given a certain amount of alcohol over the course of three hours, along with light snacks. One person for example, was given three ounces of liquor at 10 a.m., another 3 ounces 45 minutes later, and four more ounces around noon.

The measurements are taken every hour, by dosees blowing into a Breathalyzer. This particular volunteer blew .094, over the .08 legal limit.
        Boatwright is also just over the legal limit, which allows officers to study his behavior.

“Actually having them smell the alcohol on these people, actually physically seeing them and performing the exercises, then giving the orders and instructions of how to do the field sobriety exercises, I think it’s better,” explained Rosado. “You actually see it in person rather than on a video screen.”
Volunteers, all with a blood alcohol content right around .08, are instructed to follow the student’s finger, balance on one leg, and take nine heel-to-toe steps. Boatwright had trouble.

“Walking in a straight line, holding your foot out, doing an eye test, it opens your mind up a little bit and see that when you think you can function, you really can’t,” he said.
But even drivers under the legal limit aren’t in the clear.

“One can be under the influence, or intoxicated, at a level below .08 and still get a DUI,” said Bryan.

As we know the state’s legal limit is .08.  Somebody does not have to be at a .08 to be impaired,” added Rosado. “You have have somebody who doesn’t drunk a lot or we call a ‘lightweight.’ they can be at .05 and be impaired.”
T        hat was evident with one of the volunteers. Giovanni Ocampo blew just under the legal limit but troopers say they still would have arrested him based on his field sobriety performance.

“At that moment, you don’t think it’s to help you, but at the end of the day, it’s to help you make sure you’re not a danger to everybody else on the road,” said Ocampo.
“Most of the excuses we get on the roadside are, ‘I drink to feel a buzz.’ And what’s really important about that is buzz driving is drunk driving because in itself, you’re admitting to yourself, that if you feel a buzz, you are under the influence of alcohol,” said Bryan.
“It catches up to you pretty quick,” explained Ocampo.

“When you think you’ve had one drink and you think you might be okay to drive, you’re really not,” Boatwright added.
Officers can go through this type of specialized training, set up DUI checkpoints, and contribute to public service announcements. But Rosado says what it’s really going to take, is people making the choice not to drink and drive so children like Anderson’s don’t have to bury their dad.

“It’s going to start with the people,” he said “They’ve got to make better decisions. That’s all there is to it.”
We spoke to DUI attorneys about drivers getting arrested even convicted for DUI when they’re under the legal limit. Attorney David Robbins says it’s “a shame, a crime, and is based on an officer’s opinion.” He says you could take a urine sample, be arrested, and then two to three months later, when FDLE releases the results, they’re negative. Robbins say the field sobriety test is “failure-based” and “voo-doo.” He says the exercises were not designed to determine if a driver is drunk, they were designed as neurology exams, to study the brain.

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