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The Deadliest Drunk-Driving States A doctor-led group ranks the states with the highest and lowest rates of drunk-driving fatalities by Catherine Arnst Related Items Slide Show: The 10 Deadliest States for Driving Slide Show: The 10 Safest States for Driving Technology Alone Won't Tackle Drunk Driving Story Tools post a comment e-mail this story print this story order a reprint digg this save to del.icio.us View Slide Show The holiday season brings with it not just joy, but a spike in drunk driving. That's particularly scary if you live in one of the 15 states (including the District of Columbia) in which 41% or more of all traffic fatalities are alcohol-related. Even worse, according to the doctor-led advocacy group End Needless Deaths on Our Roadways (END), is that 10 of the so-called Fatal 15 states have made the list for three years in a row. Chicago-based END, in announcing its annual ranking of alcohol-related fatalities on Nov. 30, said that nearly 17,000 motorists were killed nationwide last year in such traffic accidents, and 4,300 of those deaths were in the fatal 15 states. Topping the list is Washington, D.C., where drunk driving was implicated in 54.17% of all traffic fatalities, followed by Hawaii with 50.71%. The rankings are based on data drawn from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's reporting system. Repeat Offenders The 10 repeats in the top 15 are Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Montana, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin. The other five at the top are Alaska, Delaware, North Dakota, Texas, and Washington. Progress in eliminating drunk driving and related fatalities has been difficult in recent years. In 1982 the number of people killed in car crashes was 43,945, and 60% of those, or 26,173, lost their lives in accidents in which at least one of the drivers was impaired by alcohol, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The number and rate of alcohol-related fatalities declined steadily until 1997, when 16,711 people died in drunk-driving accidents, or 40% of all auto accident fatalities. However, since then, the rate has hovered right around 40%, despite the efforts of organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and even responsible- drinking campaigns from alcohol purveyors like Anheuser-Busch (BUD), Diageo (DEO), Brown-Foreman (BFB), and Constellation Brands (STZ). Last year, 38.87% of traffic fatalities nationwide were caused by drunk driving, compared with 39.15% in 2004. An Ounce of Prevention Dr. Thomas Esposito, co-chairperson of END, recommended that doctors and other health-care workers take a larger role in identifying patients with alcohol abuse problems, then intervening before they get behind the wheel of car. The screening process recommended by the group involves asking patients a few questions about drinking habits and consumption, and counseling those who respond positively to one or more of the questions. He said studies have determined that 5- to 15-minute counseling sessions have proven effective in decreasing consumption among at-risk drinkers. The group also recommends that states consider increasing the penalty for motorists who refuse to submit to a sobriety test; raising fines for first-time and repeat offenders; and long prison sentences for those convicted of drunk driving and vehicle forfeiture. The state with the lowest alcohol-related fatality rate proves the advantages of beefing up legal oversight of drinking. In Utah, where the drinking laws are the strictest in the nation (it is illegal to get drunk "to a degree that the person may endanger himself or another" in Utah), only 13.12% of fatal car accidents involved alcohol last year. That's half the rate of the next lowest state, Iowa, at 26.22%. Impaired Driving Overview Alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes kill someone every 31 minutes and nonfatally injure someone every two minutes (NHTSA 2006). Occurrence and Consequences During 2005, 16,885 people in the U.S. died in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes, representing 39% of all traffic-related deaths (NHTSA 2006). In 2005, nearly 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics (Department of Justice 2005). That’s less than one percent of the 159 million self-reported episodes of alcohol–impaired driving among U.S. adults each year (Quinlan et al. 2005). Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths. These other drugs are generally used in combination with alcohol (Jones et al. 2003). More than half of the 414 child passengers ages 14 and younger who died in alcohol-related crashes during 2005 were riding with the drinking driver (NHTSA 2006). In 2005, 48 children age 14 years and younger who were killed as pedestrians or pedalcyclists were struck by impaired drivers (NHTSA 2006). Cost Each year, alcohol-related crashes in the United States cost about $51 billion (Blincoe et al. 2002). Groups at Risk Male drivers involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes are almost twice as likely as female drivers to be intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or greater (NHTSA 2006). It is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.08% or higher in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. At all levels of blood alcohol concentration, the risk of being involved in a crash is greater for young people than for older people (Zador et al. 2000). In 2005, 16% of drivers ages 16 to 20 who died in motor vehicle crashes had been drinking alcohol (NHTSA 2006). Young men ages 18 to 20 (under the legal drinking age) reported driving while impaired more frequently than any other age group (Shults et al. 2002, Quinlan et al. 2005). Among motorcycle drivers killed in fatal crashes, 30% have BACs of 0.08% or greater (Paulozzi et al. 2004). Nearly half of the alcohol-impaired motorcyclists killed each year are age 40 or older, and motorcyclists ages 40 to 44 years have the highest percentage of fatalities with BACs of 0.08% or greater (Paulozzi et al. 2004). Of the 1,946 traffic fatalities among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2005, 21% involved alcohol (NHTSA 2006b). Among drivers involved in fatal crashes, those with BAC levels of 0.08% or higher were nine times more likely to have a prior conviction for driving while impaired (DWI) than were drivers who had not consumed alcohol (NHTSA 2006). Prevention Strategies Effective measures to prevent injuries and deaths from impaired driving include: Aggressively enforcing existing 0.08% BAC laws, minimum legal drinking age laws, and zero tolerance laws for drivers younger than 21 years old in all states (Shults et al. 2002, Quinlan et al. 2005). Promptly suspending the driver's licenses of people who drive while intoxicated (DeJong et al. 1998). Sobriety checkpoints (Elder et al. 2002). Health promotion efforts that use an ecological framework to influence economic, organizational, policy, and school/community action (Howat et al. 2004; Hingson et al. 2006). Multi-faceted community-based approaches to alcohol control and DUI prevention (Holder et al. 2000, DeJong et al. 1998). Mandatory substance abuse assessment and treatment for driving-under-the- influence offenders (Wells-Parker et al. 1995). Other suggested measures include: Reducing the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.05% (Howat et al. 1991; National Committee on Injury Prevention and Control 1989). Raising state and federal alcohol excise taxes (National Committee on Injury Prevention and Control 1989). Implementing compulsory blood alcohol testing when traffic crashes result in injury(National Committee on Injury Prevention and Control 1989). CDC Research and Evaluation Actions to decrease alcohol-related fatal crashes involving young drivers have been effective Over the past 20 years, alcohol-related fatal crash rates have decreased by 60 percent for drivers ages 16 to 17 years and 55 percent for drivers ages 18 to 20 years, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, this progress has stalled in the past few years. To further decrease alcohol-related fatal crashes among young drivers, communities need to implement and enforce strategies that are known to be effective, such as minimum legal drinking age laws and "zero tolerance" laws for drivers under 21 years of age. Related article: Elder RW, Shults RA. Trends in alcohol involvement in fatal motor vehicle crashes among young drivers – 1982-2001. MMWR 2002;51:1089–91. Sobriety checkpoints reduce alcohol-related crashes Fewer alcohol-related crashes occur when sobriety checkpoints are implemented, according to a CDC report published in the December 2002 issue of Traffic Injury Prevention. Sobriety checkpoints are traffic stops where law enforcement officers systematically select drivers to assess their level of alcohol impairment. The goal of these interventions is to deter alcohol-impaired driving by increasing drivers’ perceived risk of arrest. The conclusion that they are effective in reducing alcohol- related crashes is based on a systematic review of research about sobriety checkpoints. The review was conducted by a team of experts led by CDC scientists, under the oversight of the Task Force on Community Preventive Services—a 15- member, non-federal group of leaders in various health-related fields. (Visit www.thecommunityguide.org for more information.) The review combined the results of 23 scientifically-sound studies from around the world. Results indicated that sobriety checkpoints consistently reduced alcohol-related crashes, typically by about 20 percent. The results were similar regardless of how the checkpoints were conducted, for short-term ―blitzes,‖ or when checkpoints were used continuously for several years. This suggests that the effectiveness of checkpoints does not diminish over time. Related article: Elder RW, Shults RA, Sleet DA, Nichols JL, Zaza S, Thompson RS. Effectiveness of sobriety checkpoints for reducing alcohol-involved crashes. Traffic Injury Prevention 2002;3:266-74. Stronger state DUI prevention activities may reduce alcohol-impaired driving Strong state activities designed to prevent driving under the influence (DUI), including legislation, enforcement, and education, may reduce the incidence of drinking and driving, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For the study, which was published in the June 2002 issue of Injury Prevention, CDC analyzed data from the 1997 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) national telephone survey, and the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Rating the States 2000 survey, that graded states on their DUI countermeasures from 1996-1999. Results showed that residents of states with a MADD grade of "D" were 60 percent more likely to report alcohol-impaired driving than were residents from states with a MADD grade of "A." MADD based the grades on 11 categories of prevention measures, including DUI legislation; political leadership; statistics and records availability; resources devoted to enforcing DUI laws; administrative penalties and criminal sanctions; regulatory control and alcohol availability; youth DUI legislation; prevention and education; and victim compensation and support. The study also found that 4 percent of the residents who consume alcohol reported they had driven after having too much to drink at least once during the previous month. Men were nearly three times as likely as women to report alcohol-impaired driving, and single people were about 50 percent more likely to report alcohol- impaired driving than married people or those living with a partner. Related article: Shults RA, Sleet DA, Elder RW, Ryan GW, Sehgal M. Association between state-level drinking and driving countermeasures and self-reported alcohol- impaired driving. Injury Prevention 2002;8:106–10. Research identifies effective interventions against alcohol-impaired driving CDC and the Task Force on Community Preventive Services—an independent, nonfederal panel of community health experts—published systematic reviews of the literature for eight community-based interventions to reduce alcohol-impaired driving. The reviews revealed strong evidence of effectiveness for 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) laws, minimum legal drinking age laws, sobriety checkpoints, and mass media campaigns (under certain conditions). They also found sufficient evidence of effectiveness for lower BAC laws specific to young or inexperienced drivers (zero tolerance laws), school-based education programs to reduce riding with a drinking driver, and intervention training programs for alcohol servers. They found insufficient evidence of effectiveness to recommend the use of designated driver programs. The systematic review of the effectiveness of 0.08% BAC laws for drivers was helpful in establishing a 0.08% standard nationwide. The review revealed that state laws that lowered the illegal BAC for drivers from 0.10% to 0.08% reduced alcohol-related fatalities by a median of 7 percent, translating to 500 lives saved annually. With this evidence, the Task Force on Community Preventive Services strongly recommended that all states pass 0.08% BAC laws. In October 2000, the President signed the Fiscal Year 2001 transportation appropriations bill, requiring states to pass the 0.08% BAC law by October 2003 or risk losing federal highway construction funds. As of October 1, 2003, 45 states and the District of Columbia had enacted 0.08% BAC legislation. In June 2001, Tommy G. Thompson, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, awarded the Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service to the CDC researchers who conducted systematic reviews for their contribution to the field. In September 2006, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) presented the Ralph W. Hingson Research in Practice National President’s Award to the CDC research team to recognize their important contributions to reducing alcohol impaired driving. Related articles: Elder RW, Nichols JL, Shults RA, et al. Effectiveness of school-based health promotion programs for reducing drinking and driving and alcohol-involved crashes: a systematic review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2005;28(5S):288-304. Ditter S, Elder RW, Shults RA, et al. Effectiveness of designated driver programs for reducing drinking and driving and alcohol-involved crashes: a systematic review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2005;28(5S):280-7. Elder RW, Shults RA, Sleet DA, et al. Effectiveness of mass media campaigns for reducing drinking and driving and alcohol-involved crashes. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2004;27:57-65. Elder RW, Shults RA, Sleet DA, et al. Effectiveness of sobriety checkpoints for reducing alcohol-involved crashes. Traffic Injury Prevention 2002;3:266-74. Shults RA, Elder RW, Sleet DA, Nichols JL, Alao MA, Carande-Kulis VG, et al. Reviews of evidence regarding interventions to reduce alcohol-impaired driving [published erratum appears in American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2002;23:72]. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2001;21(4S):66–88. References Blincoe L, Seay A, Zaloshnja E, Miller T, Romano E, Luchter S, et al. The Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2000. Washington (DC): Dept of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); 2002. Available from URL: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/economic/econimpact2000/index.htm DeJong W. Hingson R. Strategies to reduce driving under the influence of alcohol. Annual Review of Public Health 1998;19:359–78. Department of Justice (US), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Crime in the United States 2005: Uniform Crime Reports. Washington (DC): FBI; 2005 [cited 2006 Nov 3]. Available from URL: http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/05cius/index.html Dept of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Traffic safety facts 2005: alcohol. Washington (DC): NHTSA; 2006 [cited 2006 Oct 3]. Available from URL: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd- 30/NCSA/TSF2005/AlcoholTSF05.pdf Dept of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Traffic safety facts 2005: children. Washington (DC): NHTSA; 2006b [cited 2006 Oct 3]. Available from URL: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd- 30/NCSA/TSF2005/ChildrenTSF05.pdf. Elder RW, Shults RA, Sleet DA, et al. Effectiveness of sobriety checkpoints for reducing alcohol-involved crashes. Traffic Injury Prevention 2002;3:266-74. Hingson, R, Sleet, DA. Modifying alcohol use to reduce motor vehicle injury. In Gielen, Ac, Sleet, DA, DiClemente, R (Eds). Injury and Violence Prevention: Behavior change Theories, Methods, and Applications. San Francisco, CA: Jossey- Bass, 2006. Holder HD, Gruenewald PJ, Ponicki WR, Treno AJ, Grube JW, Saltz RF, et al. Effect of community-based interventions on high-risk drinking and alcohol-related injuries. Journal of the American Medical Association 2000;284:2341-7. Howat P, Sleet D, Smith I. Alcohol and driving: is the .05% blood alcohol concentration limit justified? Drug and Alcohol Review 1991;10(1):151–66. Howat, P, Sleet, D, Elder, R, Maycock, B. Preventing Alcohol-related trafic injury: a health promotion approach. Traffic Injury Prevention, 2004;5:208-219 Jones RK, Shinar D, Walsh JM. State of knowledge of drug-impaired driving. Dept of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); 2003. Report DOT HS 809 642. National Committee on Injury Prevention and Control. Injury prevention: meeting the challenge. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 1989;5(3 Suppl):123–7. Paulozzi LJ, Patel R. Changes in motorcycle crash mortality rates by blood alcohol concentration and age – United States, 1983 - 2003. MMWR 2004;53(47):1103-6. Quinlan KP, Brewer RD, Siegel P, Sleet DA, Mokdad AH, Shults RA, Flowers N. Alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults, 1993-2002. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2005;28(4):345-350. Shults RA, Sleet DA, Elder RW, Ryan GW, Sehgal M. Association between state-level drinking and driving countermeasures and self-reported alcohol-impaired driving. Inj Prev 2002;8:106–10. Wells-Parker E, Bangert-Drowns R, McMillen R, Williams M. Final results from a meta-analysis of remedial interventions with drink/drive offenders. Addiction 1995;90:907-26. Zador PL, Krawchuk SA, Voas RB. Alcohol-related relative risk of driver fatalities and driver involvement in fatal crashes in relation to driver age and gender: an update using 1996 data. Journal of Studies on Alcohol 2000;61:387-95. http://www.madd.org/ http://www.sadd.org/ http://www.madd.ca/ http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/indicators/41DrunkDriving.cfm http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/duip/spotlite/3d.htm http://www.duihope.org/ http://www.expertlaw.com/library/drunk_driving/Drunk_Terminology.html this one is good. http://dwidata.org/ Even a College of DUI defenses http://www.ncdd.com/ Drunk Driving - Progress and Problems Who are the drunk drivers? / Canada's national strategy / Jurisdiction / Penalties / The Future The rate of impaired driving incidents dropped four per cent in 2002, resuming its 20-year downward trend after a small increase in 2001, according to a November 2003 report from the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. The rate of impaired driving incidents reported by police was 65 per cent lower than its peak in 1981. The number of deaths and injuries related to impaired driving have gone down by almost half since 1986 despite increasing numbers of drivers and vehicles. Impaired driving accounted for about 12 per cent of all cases heard in court, making it the largest category of offences (53,000 out of a total 452,000). Impaired driving also had the highest conviction rate - 73 per cent, compared to 60 per cent for all Criminal Code offences. The Canada Safety Council credits the progress to several factors: strong commitment from all the stakeholders; changing attitudes and behaviours with respect to drinking and driving; effective public education and public awareness programs; and the level of police enforcement. The country's aging population is another factor in the downward trend. Seniors over age 65 have the lowest rates of impaired driving. Who are the drunk drivers? According to a national survey on drinking and driving released in December 2005 by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF), 15 per cent of Canadian drivers reported driving a vehicle within two hours of consuming alcohol in the past 30 days. The survey estimates that an alarming 1.5 million drivers drove when they thought they were impaired, of which 16 per cent (about 2.3 per cent of all drivers) said they did so four or more times. Based on the findings, TIRF estimates that only three per cent of drivers account for 84 per cent of reported impaired driving trips in Canada. This is in line with a large body of research which shows that a small minority of drinking drivers accounts for most of Canada's impaired driving problem. Younger drivers continued to show the highest rates of impaired driving. Data from 94 police departments found drivers aged 19 to 24 represent 56 per cent of all reported criminal incidents. The Justice statistics show the rate of impaired driving peaks at age 21. The TIRF survey found that drivers aged 25 to 34 are most likely to report they have taken the wheel after drinking . Younger drivers and chronic drinking drivers must remain a major target in efforts to eradicate impaired driving. Canada's national strategy In Canada there is no national law covering all aspects of drinking and driving. This is because in our federal system, different levels of government have responsibility for different aspects of the problem. The Constitution of Canada defines the powers of the federal and provincial or territorial levels of government. We do, however, have a national strategy. The Strategy to Reduce Impaired Driving (STRID) is a joint initiative by federal, provincial and territorial governments as well as road safety organizations including the Canada Safety Council. STRID is an initiative of the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA), which receives its mandate from the Council of Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety. Since it began in 1990, STRID has provided leadership for all jurisdictions in the fight against impaired driving. All jurisdictions are united in the fight against drinking and driving. Specific sanctions for drinking drivers vary from one part of the country to another, but in all cases they are strict. Jurisdiction The federal government has authority for the Criminal Code of Canada. Impaired driving is considered a crime because of the risk of death and injury related to alcohol consumption by drivers. Canada has, for example, criminalized driving or care and control of a vehicle with BACs exceeding 0.08. As a matter of constitutional law, this prevents provinces and territories from creating offences relating directly to BAC levels and to fine or jail drivers who exceed those limits; such offences fall under the Criminal Code. Provincial and territorial legislation related to drinking and driving comes from the authority to enact laws relating to property and civil rights, which includes the right to regulate driving on provincial roads. Provincial and territorial jurisdictions can legislate permissible levels of BAC for the purpose of imposing administrative licence suspensions, but not for the purpose of creating 'offences.' Through their highway traffic acts, these jurisdictions use their licensing authority to suspend drivers who exceed provincially or federally established BAC limits (PDF). Every jurisdiction in Canada has enacted legislation related to drinking and driving, short of creating offences. Provinces impose licence suspensions for drivers convicted of criminal blood alcohol offences, and most impose temporary suspensions at BACs below the criminal level of 0.08. All Canadian jurisdictions except the Northwest Territories and Nunavut have a zero BAC for novice drivers. For ordinary drivers, most provinces in Canada make it impermissible (but not a criminal offence) to operate or have care or control of a motor vehicle at levels around 0.05. However, many Canadians are not aware of these measures. The TIRF survey found less than half of respondents knew there was a lower alcohol limit in their province at which police can suspend driving privileges; only six per cent of all respondents knew what that limit is. While provincial and territorial jurisdictions cannot create offences relating to BAC levels, they do have power to impose administrative licence suspensions. Police officers can carry out these licence suspensions at the side of the road, protecting the public by a swift and certain response. Among the 13 provinces or territories of Canada, only Quebec and the Yukon do not have licence suspensions for drinking drivers with BACs lower than 0.08. Penalties The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics reports that fines were the most common penalty imposed for impaired driving offences in 2001/02. In about 77 per cent of cases a fine was the 'most serious' sentence. However, provincial and territorial sanctions supplement the Criminal Code and often have more serious personal consequences than a fine. The mere fact of having a criminal conviction carries a lifelong stigma that can limit job and travel opportunities. Offenders were sentenced to prison in 14 per cent of cases. The average length of a prison sentence for cases of impaired driving was 73 days. Prison sentences varied considerably across the country. For instance, in Prince Edward Island, 91 per cent of those convicted of impaired driving received a prison sentence, compared with only four per cent in Nova Scotia. However, provinces which imposed imprisonment more often also tended to use shorter sentences. For example, in Prince Edward Island the average sentence length was 17 days, while in Nova Scotia it was 182 days. The Canada Safety Council prepared a chart showing provincial and territorial countermeasures related to driver BAC. Some of these measures are outside the Criminal Code, while others supplement the provisions of the Criminal Code by imposing additional measures under provincial and territorial jurisdiction. Not included are measures taken after an individual is convicted of a criminal offence related to impaired driving, such as long-term licence suspensions. Some provincial/territorial sanctions are also not included, such as vehicle impoundment. Most jurisdictions require a zero BAC for novice drivers. The high incidence of drinking and driving in the 19 to 21 age group indicates that some see alcohol consumption as a restriction that is removed when a permanent licence is obtained. The Future Despite the progress that has been made over the past 20 years, impaired driving is a complex problem with no simple solutions. The current administrative and criminal sanctions provide a well thought-out mix of effectiveness, efficiency and severity. Building on this, STRID takes a multi- faceted approach in its strategy and objectives for 2010. STRID's national target for 2010 is a 30 per cent decrease in the average number of road users killed and seriously injured during the 2008-2010 period compared to 1996-2001 figures. The focus is on hardcore drinking drivers, new/young drivers, social drinkers, and first sanctioned drivers with recommendations in several categories including education and awareness, policing, legislation, rehabilitation, and evaluation. Safety Canada January 2004 Updated December 2005 Drunk Driving Quiz Do you know the facts about impaired driving? True or false 1) You can't be charged with a drinking-driving offence if your BAC is below the legal limit. True False 2) A police officer can suspend your driver's licence immediately for drinking and driving. True False 3) If you have one drink per hour, you don't have to worry about being over the legal limit. True False 4) You can't be charged with a drinking-driving offence if you are riding a snowmobile on your own property. True False 5) An impaired driving charge isn't such a big deal. You simply pay the ticket and everything's fine. True False 6) Only young drinking drivers are at higher risk of crashing. True False 7) The worst way to tell if someone has had too much to drink to drive safely is to ask them. True False 8) If you think you've had too much to drink to be able to drive safely, you'll be OK if you have a cup of coffee or take a cold shower. True False http://www.cln.org/themes/drinking_driving.html Even the President DUI, Drunk Driving Arrest Consequences DUI-DWI Convictions Can Happen to Anyone, Even Our Leaders By age 40, about 20% of all males in the USA have received a DUI conviction. Of course, some men have received MORE than their allotted share, such as Vice President Richard (Dick) Cheney. Here are copies of President Bush’s 1976 DUI in Maine, followed by Cheney’s DUI records of two back-to-back DUI's in Wyoming. Canada Would Ban Bush — But There Are Loopholes By Rebecca Cooper (ABC News) — Even if George W. Bush is elected president, W A S H I N G T O N, Nov. 3 he may need special permission to get into Canada because of his arrest for drunken driving. The Republican candidate for president acknowledged for the first time on Thursday that he was arrested for driving under the influence on Labor Day weekend in 1976, near his family home in Kennebunkport, Maine. According to Canada’s Criminal Code, Bush is deemed an “inadmissible” person, in violation of Section 19 (2) (a.1) of the Immigration Act of Canada. In other words, he has committed a crime considered an indictable offense in Canada, and, because of that he is banned. Alternative Entry Points Luckily for Bush, if he is elected president of the United States Nov. 7 and is invited to any gatherings of heads of state in Canada, since his offense is more than five years old, there are ways for him to gain entry without breaking federal law. “He is going to have to go through what’s called the rehabilitation process. The rehab takes a while and it would be somewhat demeaning for a president of the United States. He would have to go through a series of steps, including getting letters from friends saying he has cleaned up his act. If he wanted to come to Canada before completing the lengthy rehab process, he would need the permission of a senior immigration official,” immigration lawyer Colin R. Singer tells ABCNEWS. Has He Reformed? According to a “rehab check list” compiled by the Canadian law firm of Larson, Bryson & Boulton, the Canadian government considers several factors when determining whether a person wanting entry to Canada has truly rehabilitated themselves from their criminal offense and deserves entry, including: acceptance of responsibility for the offense; evidence of remorse; evidence of a change in lifestyle; and, evidence of stability in employment and family life. If Bush wants to avoid any appearance of favoritism and skip the special waiver from a senior official, it is possible to speed up the rehab process by just paying a hefty “processing fee” at the border. And a lot of Americans with DUIs on their records manage to get in to Canada without border computers catching their previous offense and without admitting to their criminal records. Of course Singer doesn’t recommend that approach for Bush. “If Bush comes to Canada or has ever been to Canada since his conviction and hides the fact that he has a prior conviction — no matter how far back — he could be excluded from Canada permanently and never allowed to return.” An Influential Law Canadian immigration experts say the law affects numerous Americans seeking entry to Canada every month, usually when computer checks do catch the old offense. There’s even information on a Canadian fishing Web site explaining to visiting anglers how to cross into Canada with an old DUI charge. And according to Singer, “This affects professionals in the sports and entertainment industries more often than people think.” Gore and Clinton Illegal Too Canadian attorney Darryl Larson maintains Bush has some notable company in the “inadmissible” category, contending that Canadian law bans both President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore. “If you admit to having smoked marijuana,” Larson explains, “You have admitted to an unlawful act. That would allow reasonable grounds for our immigration officers to determine that you have broken a law that, if committed in Canada, would be subject to prosecution and therefore falls under this law. So this would apply to both Clinton and Gore.” Larson and Singer say a president of the United States can expect to bypass the rehab process and be given special permission to enter fairly quickly. But a special waiver is good for only 30 days. “If George W. Bush wants to come to Canada for more than 30 days to vacation here, like President Roosevelt used to do, or if he decides he wants to live or work here,” Larson contends, “He’s going to have to go through the Canadian rehabilitation process. It’s the law.” Lawyer's drunk-driving comment sparks outrage Updated Thu. Nov. 16 2006 8:27 AM ET CTV.ca News Staff A lawyer representing a man accused of killing two people while driving drunk is standing by a controversial statement in which he asserted "I don't see what the big public outcry is." Valmont Antoine LeBlanc, 44, of Moncton is facing 12 charges in the collision that killed a New Brunswick couple and injured their two children. After the bail hearing earlier this week, his defence lawyer Wendell Maxwell said he understands that the family is upset, but that his client is presumed innocent until proven guilty. "People talk on cellphones and kill people, people watch a deer in the field and kill people, and people drink and drive and kill people," Maxwell said. "It's not going to stop today and it's not going to stop tomorrow so I don't see what the big public outcry is," defence lawyer Wendell Maxwell told reporters. Maxwell rebuffed demands from the victim's family to apologize for his statement in an interview with CTV's Canada AM on Thursday. "I stand by my statement because the number one drug problem in the world is alcohol. Number two, governments make it readily available. I mean, you can buy it at almost every street corner," Maxwell said from Portland, Maine. "Number three, people are addicted to alcohol and the sale of alcohol is going to continue today, tomorrow, next week and next year, and our car-related problems are going to continue to exist in the courts," he said. Maxwell said he would not apologize for the statement because the media was trying to make an example out of his client. "I think that's very unfair. If he's ever convicted of this offence, he will face what the law will do to him," he said. "He will be sentenced to an appropriate sentence, if he's ever convicted." The head-on collision occurred on the evening of Oct. 29 when a van crossed the centre line on Highway 106, the main road between Moncton and Salisbury, and struck an oncoming car. Greg O'Dell, 33, and Laura O'Dell, 36, were killed and their two children, 12-year-old Kali and nine-year-old Jeremy were injured. Kali is staying with relatives in Moncton while Jeremy is still recovering from his injuries in hospital. "Jeremy still has a lot of injuries and will have to undergo some surgery in about three months," Greg O'Dell's brother-in-law Bob MacFarlane said on Canada AM. He expressed outrage at Maxwell's statement, saying it has sparked anger not only among family members but everyone involved. "As far as the family and I are all concerned, it's just a cold, callous remark, and it's very heartless," he said, appearing on Canada AM. LeBlanc was released Tuesday on bail when the judge deemed that he didn't represent a flight risk. Conditions attached to his release include abstaining from alcohol and non-prescription drugs, surrendering his drivers licence, being prohibited from driving in Canada and banned from leaving New Brunswick. He also must check in with Codiac RCMP three times a week and must live with his common-law wife. LeBlanc is charged with two counts each of impaired driving causing death; impaired driving causing bodily harm; dangerous driving causing death; dangerous driving causing bodily harm; criminal negligence causing death; and criminal negligence causing bodily harm. He has been ordered back to court on Dec. 11 to enter his pleas.
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