June 4, 2013
I have to admit that it is not often that I write a blog about driving under the influence (DUI) where a player from the national Football League (NFL) is a principle character and it is a positive message. I am always happiest when it is.
The tight end of the Tennessee Titans, Delanie Walker is pledging his support for stricter laws for convicted drunk drivers. As reported in www.rantsports.com.
Walker recently sent a letter to lawmakers in Tennessee urging them to support bills which would require convicted drunk drivers to use an ignition interlock device. Currently, ignition interlock devices are not required for first-time DUIs.
Why is a young NFL player so interested in DUI laws? Unfortunately it is because he has first-hand experience with tragedy involving DUI behavior.
Walker, formerly with the 49ers, lost his aunt and uncle when an alleged drunk driver crashed into their vehicle the morning after Super Bowl XLVII at the Superdome.
If the bill passes, a mechanism that requires a driver to have a legal blood-alcohol content level before the car will start. Repeat offenders are required to use the device only after they have been caught driving with a blood-alcohol level of .15 percent or greater, though the state’s legal limit for driving is .08.
It’s always great to see athletes using their status for positive things. Far too frequently athletes use their status to manipulate the legal system, and often get breaks that normal folks wouldn’t get. Walker is correct when he says that this new law doesn’t discriminate. DUI offenders are DUI offenders, there’s no middle ground.
Right now, I am happy that a young man like Walker is using whatever fame or influence he has, to influence others to do the right thing.
June 2, 2013
I will admit to being somewhat biased against reality television stars. Many of these “want to be famous” people do not know how to handle the attention.
Some act like petulant children (and again in my biased opinion – most are). Others seem to think that they are above questioning. None of us are above questioning for our behavior – especially if we are on national TV discussing ourselves. As reported in www.huffingtonpost.com.
I can assure that my bias may be especially strong for those appearing on shows like “Teen Mom.”
“Teen Mom” Farrah Abraham stopped by “Dr. Phil” Friday to clear up rumors about a sex tape. I have to admit that I also was somewhat biased against Dr. Phil, but the more I see him, the greater respect I have.
Abraham probably thought she would puff herself up on national TV and discuss the most important thing in her life – no not her child – her career.
Unfortunately, the doctor took the opportunity to hit her with some tough questions about her DUI arrest, and accused her of not taking responsibility for her actions.
When Abraham got all uppity with him, Dr. Phil said, "You would argue no matter what I said because you have a chip on your shoulder... you're upset because I ask questions you don't have good answers for.” I clap when I read quotes like that.
Abraham went on to tell Dr. Phil that she was sorry she came on the show, and a writer for Wet Paint pointed out that some might think the doctor went a little too far.
Abraham is no star and she seems to take no responsibility for her actions. My hope is that with alcohol classes and counseling she might be able to become a productive citizen. Can you hear my bias in the last sentence?
May 31, 2013
As a counselor for both in-class and online alcohol classes and online DUI courses I often discuss the above-titled question with my students. What do you think? Would harsher penalties for DUI result in fewer people drinking and driving? What of the penalty were as severe as Saudi Arabia – get a DUI and you die?
The people in Washington State may find out the answer to this question soon. As reported in www.king5.com.
Drunk driving laws are changing in Washington state after two high-profile, deadly crashes involving suspected drunk drivers.
Governor Jay Inslee announced a new package of driving under the influence laws with bipartisan support.
I am not sure I completely agree with his premise that every accident and every death we see involving a DUI could have been prevented, nor do I believe DUI offenders are given a free pass.
Of the penalty changes, police would have to arrest and take the driver into custody after a first DUI offense. After a second offense, drivers would have to choose between treatment or a mandatory six months in jail.
Drivers convicted of a third DUI would get at least a one-year prison sentence. In addition, a three-time offender will be issues a new driver's license that would prevent them from buying alcohol for 10 years.
I am all in favor of harsher DUI laws, especially for repeat offenders. I would make any first-time offender take at least five mandatory DUI classes. Time will tell if these penalties make a change. Does anyone disagree that they are warranted?
May 29, 2013
Is a driving under the influence violation (DUI) the same for everyone? As a counselor for both in-class and online DUI classes I often discuss this question with my students.
A DUI definitely becomes worse if an accident occurs or injuries. If no accident or injury occurs, are all DUIs equally bad? My students and I tend to think no. The consensus is that parents driving in a drunken state with children in the car exacerbates the issue. As reported in www.ajc.com.
Following are two stories that should make any person cringe dealing with this very issue.
The first occurred in Roswell, Georgia, the second in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Concepcion Romero was arrested for driving drunk with her daughter in the car . The 40-year-old was charged with DUI and child endangerment after being stopped for failure to maintain her lane. Making the situation even worse, her 7-year-old daughter was not secured in the back seat. Family members picked up the child at the scene.
Romero refused to take a breath or blood test and was arrested after failing a field sobriety test. The scary thing is that she’s not only putting herself in danger, she’s putting people on the road in danger. She’s also endangering her own child.
A Fort Wayne woman has been charged with drunken driving while her five children were in her minivan. The 31-year-old Melissa Wilkinson had children ages 6 to 12 with her when she was arrested Saturday. Court documents show she had a blood-alcohol level of 0.18 percent.
Court documents show Wilkinson was charged with operating a vehicle as a habitual violator and five counts each of operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a passenger under the age of 18 and neglect of a dependent.
Both of these women have serious issues with alcohol if they would place their children’s lives in such danger. I hope both take a 30 hour online alcohol class and choose to never drink and drive again.
May 27, 2013
Did the quarterback of the Orlando Predators just receive a wake-up call? You bet he did. Just how intense a wake-up call remains to be seen.
Kyle Rowley, the predators starting quarterback, refused to submit to DUI tests after he was found "passed out" in a parked sport utility vehicle near the entrance of an apartment complex in Orlando, Florida.. As reported in www.orlandosentinel.com.
The 34-year-old was out cold and his SUV was running and its brake lights were on. Rowley was not alone – passed out in the passenger seat was a female. It took them almost a full minute to wake up as police pounded on the windows.
Rowley responded to officers' commands to roll down his window and hand over his keys by repeatedly shifting the vehicle into drive. Officers eventually got the keys, and said they detected the smell of alcohol coming from the SUV.
Rowley's eyes were red and glassy, and his speech was slurred, and after he refused to exit the vehicle, one officer pointed his department-issued chemical spray at the quarterback's eyes, but decided against using it. Rowley had to be physically pulled from the vehicle.
He refused to submit to field sobriety tests or a Breathalyzer. He was arrested on charges of resisting without violence and driving under the influence.
A DUI investigator called to the scene said he arrived to find Rowley repeating the Lord's Prayer. He admitted to having consumed six beers.
We will see what happens. It looks like someone might be in denial about both this incident and a possible problem with alcohol. I hope he and his female friend are mandated to take a good alcohol class and choose to stay away from booze.
May 27, 2013
For those who ever have drank alcohol and drove when they knew they were probably affected by alcohol few ever think about the worst-case scenario. Believe me, the worst-case scenario is always out there. That most likely is the case for one celebrity, Todd Harrell.
Harrell is the bassist for the Mississippi band 3 Doors Down and now the band is canceling their four scheduled appearances in the US this spring, after bassist Todd Harrell was arrested back in April. As reported in www.wlox.com.
The 41-year-old Harrell was charged with vehicular homicide by intoxication. The coast native was arrested in Tennessee. He was driving a 2011 Cadillac CTS at a high rate of speed when he clipped a 2003 Ford F-150 pickup truck. That truck was driven by 47-year-old Paul Howard Shoulders, Jr.
Unfortunately, Shoulders was not wearing a seatbelt. He was ejected from the truck and died shortly after the incident. The band said the decision to cancel its next four appearances was out of respect to Paul Howard Shoulders, Jr. and his family.
This is the worst-case scenario of drinking and driving. This fatality never had to happen. Alcohol classes enforce the notion of making the smart decision not to take the risk that a worst-case scenario might happen and someone could lose their life.
May 25, 2013
Major League Baseball has proven to be very lenient when it comes to punishing its athletes after an alcohol-related incident, especially after a driving under the influence (DUI) violation. Just last month Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo was arrested with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.22. he received no fine or suspension!
The NCAA has much less tolerance for its athletes being involved in alcohol-related incidents. Perhaps that is because many of its athletes are under the age of 21. More likely is that this issue is more important to them. As reported in www.ajc.com.
Georgia baseball coach David Perno wasted no time dispensing discipline to a player jailed on DUI and other misdemeanor charges. J.T. Phillips, a freshman from Columbus, was immediately dismissed from the team after Perno learned of his arrest for drunk driving, underage possession of alcohol, driving without a license and driving the wrong way on a one-way street.
The 19-year-old Phillips was booked into jail the night before the team’s biggest double-header of the season. What an utter lack of respect for your school and your teammates!
Phillips might be best-known for being part of the Columbus team that won the Little League World Series in 2006 and played for three Class AAA state champions at Columbus High.
At Georgia, Phillips played first base and started in 19 of 32 games. He was batting .256 with 6 RBI and 11 runs scored.
Phillips is still very young. We are a forgiving country. Everyone deserves a second chance. I hope that after he successfully completes a 24 hour online alcohol course he can re-dedicate himself to his sport and again become the baseball player he was meant to be.
May 23, 2013
Not one but both candidates for the mayor position in Gainesville, Florida have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. Unfortunately for the incumbent, his DUI occurred two days after the initial election resulted in a runoff.
Bad Timing! As reported in www.gainesville.com.
Two days after voters sent incumbent Mayor Craig Lowe into a runoff against Ed Braddy, Lowe was arrested on suspicion of DUI. With Braddy having garnered the most votes in the March 19 general election, the timing could not have been worse for Lowe.
Ironically, Braddy, was arrested for a DUI six years ago. However, his incident seems to have been forgotten as he easily went on to win the runoff.
There were differences of opinion on whether the DUI arrest cost Lowe the election or whether Lowe squandered a chance to recover from having been arrested.
Lowe did not give himself the best chance at surviving his mid-election misstep. Although Lowe issued an apology the evening of his arrest shortly after being released from jail, but it came off as half-hearted and insincere. Some members of his own party thought he might still be intoxicated when he was apologizing. Many saw the apology as evasive.
Lowe has admitted recently that he has a problem. I hope that he takes a 30 hour alcohol class online and seeks counseling. One thing I know is that the public is very forgiving. There is a good chance Lowe could wind up back in office again someday. Don’t believe me, just as former Washington, DC mayor Marion Berry (he was caught doing crack with prostitutes while in office and was re-elected after the incident)!
May 21, 2013
For those of you who read my blog regularly you know that I do everything I can to dissuade parents from providing alcohol for their children and their children’s friends.
Just how important is the role of parental example? As reported in www.steamboattoday.com.
Parents play an important role in helping teens make smart decisions when it comes to alcohol. According to a recent report, 83 percent of youths report parents are the leading influence in their decision to not drink alcohol. Research also shows regular communication between parents and teens has a positive influence on the decisions teens make. Teens are more likely to live up to the parent’s expectations and less likely to drink or use drugs when open and regular communication is occurring.
Research has shown that youths who use alcohol before age 15 are five times more likely to become alcohol dependent than adults who begin drinking at age 21. Underage drinking can lead to destructive behaviors such as physical and emotional violence, sexual mistakes or misjudgments, accidental injuries and deaths, alcohol overdose and increased risk of suicide.
Siblings play an equally important role: Research shows that children who have older brothers or sisters who drink are more likely to use alcohol. Remind your older child that he or she serves as a role model for the younger brother or sister and that your rules and expectations about drinking apply to all underage family members. If the older sibling is of legal drinking age, ask him or her to always drink in moderation and to never encourage drinking or offer underage siblings alcohol.
Keep in mind that adults that supplying alcohol at teen parties is not only a bad idea but also illegal. In some states it is a felony even if nobody is injured or ticketed. I think it is a good idea for parents to take an online alcohol class with their progeny to help keep the message clear and keep the kids safe.
May 19, 2013
How many driving under the influence violations does someone have to get before they decide on their own never to get behind the wheel of a car? The answer is probably as many as it takes. Do we have to chop off their arms to keep them from driving? Would even that keep them from getting behind the wheel after drinking or using drugs?
It has been estimated that for every DUI violation a person receives they get away with it 400 times. How many times must John Harvey Hootshave driven under the influence? Keep in mind he just received his 13th DUI. As reported in helenair.com.
Hoots, a 54-year-old from Billings, Montana tried to blame his neighbors for his most recent DUI infraction. He claimed he drive while intoxicated to get away from his neighbor who was threatening him.
A jury will have little sympathy for a DUI violator, especially if he has 12 previous convictions!
His attorney argued state law allows a person to commit a crime to avoid serious injury or death.
The neighbor testified he called 911 last July on the day in question to report Hoots had dropped his pants. A short time later, the neighbor's mother called to report Hoots indicated he had a gun.
Hoots was driving away as officers arrived. His blood-alcohol level was 0.20 and he had just been released from prison six weeks earlier on his 12th DUI.
This is serial DUI at its worst. Mandatory online alcohol classes and online DUI classes might have prevented this menace to society from ever using alcohol. Learn more here: http://onlinealcoholclass.com/Dui-Class