Utah residents who don’t watch a lot of programming on streaming services may have been perplexed about what caused a recent car crash in the state, which law enforcement said was due to one driver participating in the Bird Box Challenge.
Utah has historically been a leader in reducing driving under the influence (DUI). It was the first state to lower its DUI limit to 0.08 percent in 1983, which led to the other 49 states doing the same over the next two decades.
The snow has finally begun to fall and winter driving is upon us. There are many simple tips that can help you to be safe as you drive in winter weather. One of the easiest ways to stay safe on the roads in winter is to allow yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. Heading out the door with enough time to clear off your car, clean off your windshield wipers, let the defrost begin to work and the car to warm up can make a big difference. But more importantly, having the time to move at a safe slow speed on slushy, snowy or icy roads will help you to arrive at your destination safely.
The holidays bring families together who travel long distances to see relatives and share in seasonal memories. Unfortunately, it can also be a busy time on the road for drunk drivers.
Most people are aware of the dangers of driving distracted or drunk, but many of us have no qualms about driving while tired. However, these driving patterns can be just as dangerous.
Auto accidents can be stressful, especially if you are concerned that you are even a little at fault. Maybe you took your eyes of the road to look at a sign for just a second, or you hit the breaks during inclement weather and they didn’t stop you in time. Someone else’s negligence was at more fault, but you’re worried about the repercussions if your driving wasn’t perfect.
When most of us think of distracted drivers, the image of someone texting while behind the wheel comes to mind. However, distracted driving can occur for several reasons, most of which aren’t legislated.
It's back to school time and thousands of students around the United States are headed off to college. Some college Freshman are not allowed to have cars their first year on campus but for many students, cars are a necessity.
According to the Governor's Highway Safety Association, "All states but Utah define driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08 percent as a crime, and specific laws and penalties vary substantially from state to state. Effective December 30, 2018, Utah's BAC will be set at 0.05 percent."Driving under the influence of alcohol is clearly defined by each state as a crime. But what isn't so clearly defined is driving under the influence of drugs, specifically THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana that gets people high.
Part of the difficulty is determining what constitutes THC levels that impair function. Unlike alcohol, which is measured in parts per thousand, THC is approximately a billion times less concentrated than alcohol and dissolves in fat so it can stay in your body for up to a month after use.
Hound Labs, a California based company, claims it may have cracked the code by developing a breathalyzer that can detect THC levels in a person's breath. Mike Lynn, emergency room trauma physician and CEO of Hound Labs, states "When you find THC in breath, you can be pretty darn sure that somebody smoked pot in the last couple of hours...And we don't want to have people driving during that time period or, frankly, at a work site in a construction zone."
This breathalyzer is used in the same way that a traditional breathalyzer is used. A person breathes into the breathalyzer cartridge, it is then plugged into a base that regulates the temperature of the cartridge and also reads the results. This breathalyzer can actually detect alcohol levels as well. Law enforcement agencies are anxious to find concrete methods to determine impairment on site because current testing measures can take days to provide proof of drugs in the system and officers are forced to do field sobriety tests and rely on observation, which can be subjective.
Is this breathalyzer going to be the breakthrough it claims to be? More research may be required. Most states still need to determine legal guidelines regarding THC levels and impairment. According to NPR, "So far only seven states, including Washington and Montana, have set legal guidelines as to how much THC in the system makes you dangerous behind the wheel. Yet some scientists are skeptical, saying those limits aren't really backed by hard science."
An additional challenge is the breathalyzer can only detect that THC has been used within a certain time frame but it can not determine the amount used. "We need more research to establish the dose-response relationship between THC level and crash risk," says epidemiologist Guohua Li, who directs the Columbia Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention.
In the meantime, a few law enforcement agencies are going to partner with Hound Labs to begin field testing the breathalyzer, but the challenge of the results being admissible in court has several agencies waiting to see the results before jumping on board.
Reducing the number of accidents caused by driving under the influence is the main concern. But accidents do still happen. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident caused by someone driving under the influence, we can help. Contact our office for a FREE consultation.
Motorcycle safety is not just the responsibility of the motorcyclist. There are also important steps that motor vehicle drivers can take to avoid accidents with motorcycles.