The National Transportation Safety Board would like to decrease the legal driving limit to one drink, lowering the legal limit on blood-alcohol content to 0.05 “or even lower.” The agency released its “most wanted list” on Wednesday, an annual wish list of changes it would make it would make across America if it could. Two of these proposals certain to stir controversy are the lowering of the legal limit and outlawing all cell phone use while driving, even hands-free technology. “When it comes to alcohol use, we know that impairment begins before a person’s BAC reaches 0.08 percent, the current legal limit in the United States,” the agency said. “In fact, by the time it reaches that level, the risk of a fatal crash has more than doubled. That is why states should lower BAC levels to 0.05— or even lower.”
In case you missed it, the California Legislature extended the IID Pilot Program until July 1, 2017. The pilot program–effective only in the counties of Los Angeles, Alameda, Tulare and Sacramento–requires every first-time DUI offender to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. Elsewhere in California first offenders are not required to install an IID.
DUI drivers in Colorado have been slow to catch on to the state’s new felony DUI law, which made fourth offense DUIs a felony in the Centennial State beginning last month. The story of David Randall Nance is typical of DUI drivers in Colorado arrested under the new law. Colorado Springs police arrested Nance for DUI two weeks ago following a car crash. Nance had eight prior “DUI-related convictions” (whatever that means). “Give me my ticket and let me get out of here,” he said, according to officer Michelle Nethercot, who wrote his arrest affidavit. Nance later said that he had stopped drinking and was getting treatment.
Several Georgia hospitals refuse blood tests for conscious DUI suspects unless the suspect consents to the test. In Georgia, as in California and most states, if police get a search warrant they can take blood from a DUI suspect by force against their will. What the police cannot do–as they are learning in Cobb, Douglas, Paulding and Cherokee Counties–is force a hospital to do the work. Now that several Georgia hospitals refuse blood tests even if the police have a warrant, it will fall to law enforcement to employ its own staff of phlebotomists to perform these forced blood draws.
A DUI bicycle arrest this week in Pennsylvania highlights the risk of riding a bicycle after consuming alcohol. Herman Ray Milke was arrested yesterday on charges stemming from a July 13 incident where he crashed his bicycle. Police waited for the results of his blood alcohol test before arresting him. State DUI laws usually prohibit riding a bicycle while intoxicated, either by including bicycles in the definition of “vehicle” for DUI purposes, or–as California’s Vehicle Code section 21200.5 does–by creating a special DUI bicycle arrest statute. In California, the penalties for cycling under the influence are much less severe than for the corresponding DUI case, but a rider under 21 may have their license suspended. If you or anyone you know suffer a DUI bicycle arrest, call us and we’ll do our best to help you.
The Fox News affiliate in Boston reports that the New Hampshire Attorney General is reviewing “hundreds” of DUI arrests made by 64 police officers. The reason? They may not have really been certified to give the breathalyzer test that was used to support the arrests. All police officers in New Hampshire undergo a yearly certification to make sure they stay current on breathalyzer technology. This year the state used an online certification program which contained a computer glitch, giving officers credit for an answer even if they got it wrong. Thus, some officers were declared to have passed the re-certification when they really didn’t. Officials have identified more than 100 cases so far, and those motorists will get to re-do their cases.