Monthly Archives: December 2007
As I’ve pointed out in previous posts, the harsh penalties, convoluted laws and unconstitutional procedures have not lowered the alcohol-related fatality rate. And MADD is unwilling to consider rational solutions to the problem. So where does it go from here?
Roadshow: Where DUI Enforcement is Tougher
San Jose Mercury News, Dec. 31 – The drunken-driving laws just changed in Japan. Now, if there is a drunken-driving incident, all passengers in the car are liable because they should be sharing the responsibility for having a sober driver. The first fine is $5,000, three years in jail and demerit points on one’s license that pretty much make you lose the license for two years or more. The arrest rate is now down 43 percent as a result…
Now that is a tough, but needed, law – here. California’s alcohol-involved traffic death toll rose from 1,072 deaths in 1998 to nearly 1,600 last year, an increase of nearly 50 percent during a period when the state’s population grew about 12 percent.
Let’s hope MADD doesn’t hear about this "solution".
(Note: the arrest rate is down in Japan; interestingly, there is no mention of the fatality rate. Could it be that Japanese police are reluctant to arrest innocent passengers? And how could there be meaningful statistics if the "drunken driving laws in Japan just changed"? It takes the feds here over a year to accumulate the numbers.)
I’ve commented repeatedly in the recent past about the increasing use of forced blood draws — and particularly on the practice of having the cops themselves acting as "nurse" while pinning the suspect down and drawing the blood. See Taking Blood by Force, Forced Blood Draws by Cops: Constitutional?, Would You Want a Cop Taking Blood from You?, Forced Blood Draws by Cops in Back Seat. The following is a recent example of what is happening in the Great State of Texas:
Texas: Forced DUI Blood Draws Expand
More Texas jurisdictions are turning to forced blood draws to convict those suspected of DUI
TheNewspaper.com. Dec. 26 – Jurisdictions within Texas are expanding programs where police use force to draw blood from motorists accused of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). Last week, El Paso announced it had joined Harris and Wilson Counties in a "no refusal" program specifically designed to streamline the blood drawing process.
It works as follows. An accused motorist is arrested and taken downtown. While being videotaped, he will be asked to submit to a breathalyzer test with officers specifically avoiding any mention that blood will be taken by force if the often inaccurate breathalyzer test is refused.
During key holiday weekends, a pre-assigned judge who agreed to wait by the phone will approve search warrants created from pre-written templates — often within just thirty minutes. With warrant in hand, a nurse whose salary is often paid by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) will draw blood while police officers exert the required level of force. In some cases, this use of force can cause permanent damage. Montague, Archer and Clay counties have similar programs except that these departments do away with the nurse and have police officers perform the blood draw themselves, despite a state law banning the practice.
With the emergence of the DUI SuperCop phenomenon, you just knew it had to happen….
Fresno Police Star in Pilot TV Show
Showcasing DUI Enforcement
Associated Press, Dec. 20 – Fresno's finest are starring in a new pilot television show that showcases the police department's tough tactics against those who dare to get behind the wheel after drinking.
The Court TV reality show "Driving: Under the Influence" premiered Dec. 7. The show follows officers as they stage drunken-driving checkpoints and stake out bars watching for drinkers stumbling to their cars.
Fresno police are hoping the half-hour show results in a series, but officials with the cable network said they couldn't comment on when they would make that decision.
The Fresno Police Department's muscular tactics have won it awards from both Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
The following solicitation from MADD for more money is the latest in an endless parade:
…Your donation is used to help fund programs that save lives and prevent injuries every day across our country. From our Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, which will eliminate drunk driving once and for all, to the numerous youth programs that keep alcohol out of the hands of young people, your donation touches the lives of countless thousands. It even touches the lives of your family, friends and neighbors…
Hmmmm…..After 13 years of essentially unchanged DUI-related fatality statistics (they have actually increased), we are now promised that this latest MADD "campaign" will "eliminate drunk driving once and for all". And what is this latest miracle campaign? Requiring first offenders to have ignition interlock devices on their cars, rather than just repeat offenders as is presently done. That's the crux of it. That's going to put an end to drunk driving.
Do these fraudulent solicitations work? Last year, MADD took in over $51 million (see IRS Form 990 for charitable organizations on MADD's website). Also last year, MADD received the lowest possible rating from the consumer watchdog Charity Navigator for "fundraising efficiency" — that is, the percentage of money raised that actually goes to the stated objectives rather than to salaries, overhead, etc.
Incidentally, the second prong of MADD's objective is apparently to "keep alcohol out of the hands of young people" — regardless of driving. Hmm….Sounds like the next step is to keep alcohol out of the hands of all people.
In today's "Physician-heal-thyself" department:
Officer In Police Cruiser Busted For DUI
WEST PALM BEACH (CBS4). Dec. 18 A Miami-Dade Police officer found himself on the wrong side of the law Monday after he was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence in his police cruiser.
The Florida Highway Patrol said 51-year old Jeffrey Jasnish was not in police uniform when he was pulled over and arrested Monday for DUI. Janish had allegedly been speeding and swerving from lane to lane on the Florida Turnpike near Okeechobee Boulevard. According to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office booking center, Jasnish's blood alcohol level was about three times the legal limit.