Your Hump-Day Recess: Just Why Are You the Designated Driver?

Another homage to that vitally important person, that friend and savior, the designated driver. Unlike some PSAs about the subject, this fun ad admits that being a designated driver is perhaps not the most enjoyable task one can perform. The very thing that makes a person incapable of driving a car safely can also make them a somewhat boring companion to a sober person.

Nevertheless, the message is: you do it because it’s your turn. The ad comes from ICBC, the Insurance Brokers of British Columbia. They refer to designated drivers as “unsung heroes.

We’re in agreement. This time, it’s your turn to stay sober and get your friends home. Next time you get to drink and bore your designated driver.

Your Hump Day Recess: Every Wednesday LifeSafer brings you something a little different, related to the worlds of road safety, to ease your progress over Hump Day and through the week.

Previous Hump Days: car safety, animals, posters. traffic jams, more posters, fake microbrews a German Ignition Interlock spoof from 1960, a Star Wars anti-drunk driving messageour Top 10 Worst Crash Tests, a different kind of Anti-DUI message, Budweiser’s dogged anti-DUI campaign, How Not to Dodge a Parking Ticket, a Cool 1950s Soviet Anti Drunk Driving Poster, He Got a DUI on a WHAT? a 1970s Alcohol Mythbuster,  Halloween Drunk Driving, a brewery that keeps its anti-drunk driving message under its cap, a thought-provoking UK ad celebrating 50 years of Think! a dramatic buzzed driving PSA , an offbeat ad from New Zealand, the world’s worst car modification, and a Thai drunk-driving ad.

Blame it on the Fish: A Wisconsin Man’s
Improbable Excuse for Drunk Driving

A Wisconsin man with nine drunk driving offenses had an excuse, for a change.

blames fish for wisconsin owi arrest John Przbyla was stopped for erratic driving and having a broken taillight. The officer then noted that the driver’s eyes were bloodshot and he smelled of alcohol. Yet Przbyla told the arresting officer he had not taken a drink.

No, he had just eaten beer-battered fish. That, he claimed, must have been what caused the intoxication.

Drunk Driving: A Matter of Scale

For the record, to make your average 8-ounce portion of beer-battered fish you need:

• ½ cup beer
• ½ cup flour
• Pinch salt
• Pinch seasoning
• Teaspoon oil

However, not all of that batter will make it onto the fish you eat – that is just the amount in the bowl of batter the fish will be dipped in. Let’s say half that amount of batter sticks to the fish. So his portion had ¼ cup beer in it.

Some alcohol – though not all – will burn off, since deep frying works too fast to boil much of it away. Let’s say three-quarters of the alcohol is left. That’s three ounces of beer that was ingested.

Wisconsin man tells tale about fish causing OWIHang on – let’s say he ate two portions, because after all, it’s beer-battered fish. So six ounces of beer went into Przbyla’s system – half a can. Even if he weighed a mere 140 pounds, drinking that amount of beer would register just .01 on a breathalyzer. It’s doubtful that such a small amount would cause bloodshot eyes.

No Sole Answer

Przybla has nine OWI offenses on his record. If he’s convicted at his hearing in January, that will make an even ten. Clearly this driver has a problem that is not being addressed by Wisconsin’s current OWI culture. There are no guaranteed answers, but given his tendency for recidivism, we think an ignition interlock would be in order. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.

Michigan has found that the OWI court/interlock combination is a powerful one. The OWI court supervises treatment, and the interlock prevents the offender from getting behind the wheel. As a result, the offender is given resources to turn his life around while the public is protected.

And everyone lives to tell the tale.

 

Where Are the Country’s Best and Worst Drivers?

bad-drivingThe yearly report from the website www.carinsurancecomparison.com, listing the best and worst drivers by state, is out again. Minnesota can rejoice in having the country’s best drivers, followed closely by neighbor Iowa.

Using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the site rates each state on factors such as fatalities per mile traveled, percentage of crashes involving broken traffic laws, drunk driving, speeding, and careless driving (using pedestrian and bicycle fatalities as a gauge).

Now that the numbers have been crunched, here are the 10 best and worst states, in order:

RANKINGBEST DRIVERSWORST DRIVERS
1MinnesotaMontana
2IowaSouth Carolina
3New HampshireTexas
4AlaskaNorth Dakota
5ConnecticutDelaware
6OregonLouisiana
7MichiganNevada
8WashingtonHawaii
9UtahOklahama
10IndianaMissouri

Why would Minnesota top the charts? Does “Minnesota nice,” the innate politeness and courtesy that the state is known for, carry over onto the roads? It’s possible. But we’d rather not generalize, because then we’d have to figure out what innate qualities caused Montana and South Carolina tie for the dubious distinction of having the country’s worst drivers.

We suspect that it’s not some inner quality, but a culture of drinking and driving, that put them there. Montana has the worst drunk driving record in the country, and the site notes that the five worst states were among the top ten in terms of drunk driving.

No survey is perfect, and this one might not be an accurate reflection of how good or bad drivers really are in the states listed. But if if these surveys do have any value, it’s in getting people thinking about what factors make our roads unsafe. And the signs point to alcohol as one of the main culprits.

When is a Car Accident Not an Accident?

In everyday speech we use the terms “car crash” and “traffic accident” interchangeably. But are they in fact the same thing?

Some definitions of the word “accident:”

  • An unfortunate happening, one that is unintentional
  • An unexpected event, one which happens without plan or cause
  • In law, something that happens which causes injury, but which is in no way the fault of the injured person

Firefighters-Saving-Woman-In-CarSo, when a drunk driver crashes, is it a car accident? Not according to the definitions above. Anyone who drinks and drives is engaging in a practice known to be lethal. Therefore, a crash by a drunk driver is a logical, if not inevitable conclusion.

A battle is going on to change the way we speak and write, and thus the way we think. The Minneapolis Star Tribune is considering a change to their style guide. It all started when the paper described as an accident a collision involving injury to a child by a reckless driver. Twitter reactions to the story were sharp: readers objected to the idea that the tragedy could not have been prevented.

A large group of road safety organizations wrote a letter to the Star-Tribune, affirming the need to end the use of the word “accident” for preventable crashes. Called Crash Coalition, the group minces no words:

Those who drive under the influence, distracted, or aggressively, among other behaviors, are consciously acting in a manner that is universally known to increase the chance of an event that could kill and injure innocent victims. Somehow the word “accident” doesn’t seem appropriate for such dangerous and reckless behavior.

In the UK, an organization called RoadPeace is taking up the cause. The points they want to drive home:

  • Crashes are still seen as unfortunate ‘accidents’, instead of preventable collisions
  • Society tolerates road death and disability as an acceptable price to pay for the convenience of cars
  • Crash victims do not have the same rights or support as other victims of crime or trauma

Accidents do happen, but they are rare. Most road collisions are preventable by driving at a proper speed, by staying alert and driving defensively, and of course, by not ever driving impaired.

New Location:
Welcome LifeSafer of Gulfport, Mississippi

The seaside city of Gulfport, Mississippi is known for its picturesque harbor and for being home to the Seabees. It’s also home to one of the newest LifeSafer Ignition Interlock locations.

Gulfport_SignLifeSafer of Gulfport, on Dye Road just east of U.S. 49, offers full ignition interlock service, from installation to monitoring, calibration and training. The proprietor, Kenny Babcock, is an experienced interlock technician who will go the extra mile to make sure that you are up and running quickly.

Beyond Gulfport, this LifeSafer location serves Biloxi, Hattiesburg, Long Beach, Pascagoula, Ocean Springs, Bay St. Louis, and other cities and towns in the Mississippi Gulf region.

Kenny will do installations on all makes and models of cars. If more than one family member is required to use the vehicle, additional users will be trained to use the interlock at no charge. It’s all part of the service that LifeSafer offers all customers.

At LifeSafer we’re proud to add LifeSafer of Gulfport to our large and growing list of service locations, which numbers well over 900 coast-to-coast.LifeSafer-Ignition-Interlock-FC100-Hand

If you’re looking to install an ignition interlock, and you’re in Gulfport Mississippi or anywhere in the Gulf region, call 800-377-8750 or go here to book your appointment at LifeSafer of Gulfport.

You’ll be back on the road before you know it!

 

Your Hump-Day Recess: Thai Drunk Driving Ad

How’s your Thai? Don’t worry, you really don’t need to speak it to get the idea of this ad. Once again, humor is the vehicle, but the message is serious.

Thailand has a drinking problem, and also a very severe drinking and driving problem. A recent study by the World Health Organization placed Thailand at the top of ASEAN countries in terms of alcohol consumption. Spirits are easily available and inexpensive. As a result, over half of road deaths have an alcohol component. The vast number of motorcycles and bicycles adds to the casualties. There are drinking laws in Thailand, but enforcement is lax.

One thing the ad does suggest is that drinking and driving is the “old” way of doing things. The young man dutifully steers the older man into the waiting arms of the police. Associating drunk driving with age isn’t a bad idea. If you can’t persuade people that impaired driving is dangerous, at least you can make it unfashionable.

Your Hump Day Recess: Every Wednesday LifeSafer brings you something a little different, related to the worlds of road safety, to ease your progress over Hump Day and through the week.

Previous Hump Days: car safety, animals, posters. traffic jams, more posters, fake microbrews a German Ignition Interlock spoof from 1960, a Star Wars anti-drunk driving messageour Top 10 Worst Crash Tests, a different kind of Anti-DUI message, Budweiser’s dogged anti-DUI campaign, How Not to Dodge a Parking Ticket, a Cool 1950s Soviet Anti Drunk Driving Poster, He Got a DUI on a WHAT? a 1970s Alcohol Mythbuster,  Halloween Drunk Driving, a brewery that keeps its anti-drunk driving message under its cap, a thought-provoking UK ad celebrating 50 years of Think! a dramatic buzzed driving PSA , an offbeat ad from New Zealand, and the world’s worst car modification.

Crash Caused by Driver Who Drank For ‘Medicinal Purposes’

A distressing police report from Tacoma: an 86-year-old man caused a three-car crash while driving the wrong way down Interstate 5.

Brandy-rxFortunately, there were no life-threatening injuries. But what’s alarming is that the drunk driver, Panos Palas, blew a .123 on a breathalyzer, despite claiming he had nothing to drink. He revised his claim later: he drank some brandy for his cough.

It’s unclear from the article whether the brandy was taken alone or with a cough medicine, but either way, it was a bad decision resulting from seriously outdated thinking.

At 86, Mr. Palas is old enough to remember when brandy was indeed thought of as a medicine. Any fan of black-and-white movies will remember scenes in which a matron faints after some bad news, only to be brought around by a shot of brandy.

In an age before potent medications, doctors regularly prescribed alcohol. Its depressant properties alleviated anxiety, and a regular dose of brandy was often regarded as a way to improve high blood pressure, pneumonia, and many other diseases, despite a lack of scientific evidence. Alcohol falls into the category of folk medicine, albeit one that had, in earlier times, many satisfied customers.

Prohibition_prescription_front

Prescription Form for Medicinal Liquor
Used During Prohibition

In the US during Prohibition, doctors and their patients capitalized upon this belief – one could still procure alcohol for medicinal purposes, and the number of ailments for which the treatment was prescribed went through the roof. Looking at pharmacies’ record books, one would have thought that America was one sick nation indeed, at least from 1919 to 1933.

By the 1940s, with the advent of penicillin and other effective drugs, the fashion of prescribing alcohol receded. Those who wanted to drink brandy would have to find a reason that did not involve the medical profession.

Today there is no excuse to drink to cure a cough or any other ailment. And of course, there is no excuse — ever — to drink and drive.

 

Will Wisconsin Add Biomarkers
To Its Anti-OWI Arsenal?

There are two types of OWI offenders, say police officers and alcohol counselors. One type of offender is frightened, upset, immediately repentant after the arrest, and unlikely to reoffend. These people are “scared straight” by the justice system, and they know enough to change their behavior.

LifeSafer Ignition Interlock JurisdictionThe other type, with whom police and treatment personnel are all too familiar, are the repeat offenders. They might want to stop drunk driving but can’t manage on their own, or they might simply believe that they can drive impaired without impunity. Either way, they pose a grave danger, and OWI programs often focus on them.

Two of the most successful techniques for dealing with repeat offenders, especially when combined, are ignition interlocks and OWI courts. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking. An OWI court is a judicially supervised program combining comprehensive intervention, treatment, counseling, and monitoring designed to change the behavior of drunk drivers by getting them to take responsibility for their actions.

bloodWisconsin has an interlock program, and OWI courts exist in some counties, but the state is considering another technique to discourage repeat OWI offenders: biomarkers. Common in Europe, biomarker testing consists of taking samples of fingernails or blood and looking for molecular evidence alcohol abuse. Unlike a standard breath or blood test, a biomarker test can detect heavy drinking weeks or even months after the fact.

Programs are being tested in Dane and Waukesha counties, with encouraging results.

Will biomarker testing help treatment of alcohol abusers? Absolutely. But it is not a stand-alone solution. Biomarkers can verify that an offender is staying off alcohol. OWI courts can monitor treatment and help offenders stay on the right side of the law. And ignition interlocks are society’s assurance that the offender will not take to the road while drunk. By restoring an individual’s mobility, they also make it easier for him or her to stay in treatment.

To sum up: biomarkers keep offenders honest. OWI courts help them change their behavior. And ignition interlocks protect everyone on the roads and streets. Together they look like the winning combination that will reduce alcohol-related road deaths and help more addicts turn their lives around.

What Does My Ignition Interlock Really Cost?
Less Than a Drink a Day.

People who are required to install an ignition interlock — as well as those who are considering installing one voluntarily for themselves or loved ones — are often concerned about the cost of the device. In fact, if you shop around and go with a reputable provider, it can cost surprisingly little to get back on the road safely and legally.

A lifeSafer ignition interlock costs less than one drink at a barAn ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, is a device which prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking. Frequently the device is ordered by a court or DMV after a DUI conviction. However, an increasing number of people opt to have the device installed in order to safeguard themselves, their loved ones, or employees who drive company vehicles.

Normally, there is a fee to install the device, which will vary by state. Installation runs from $25 to around $125 depending on the type of car. Hybrids and vehicles with pushbutton or remote starters generally have a higher installation fee, as their electrical systems are more complex.

Then there is the monthly fee for calibration — testing and adjusting the device for accuracy — and monitoring — sending data to courts or other authorities. Calibration and monitoring fees are generally between $60 and $80. There is also a de-installation fee at the end of your interlock period.dollar-savings

If you want to save money, watch out for hidden fees. Some ignition interlock companies advertise a monthly monitoring fee of, say, $60, but when you come in you’ll find that the low fee does not included calibration, so you end up paying top dollar. Other companies will surprise you with a vehicle inspection fee in addition to installation.

You can save money by going with a company that has no extra hidden fees. At LifeSafer, pay only the installation and monthly fees that you’re quoted at the beginning. There have never been any extras or hidden fees, and never will. Check our website for discounts as well.

Generally, your ignition interlock will cost you around $3 a day — less than the price of a drink at a bar. A small price for the freedom of the road and the safety of sobriety.

New LifeSafer Location: We Welcome Don’s
Stereo and Speed Center, Mt. Vernon, Illinois

In the heart of downstate Illinois is a business that has been putting tunes in cars since the days when The Mama’s and the Papa’s and The Righteous Brothers topped the charts: Don’s Stereo and Speed Center. Located in Mt. Vernon, Don’s has been installing stereos and selling performance accessories for 48 years.

Dons-Stereo-And-Speed-Center-LifeSaferLifeSafer Ignition Interlock is proud to welcome Don’s Stereo and Speed Center as an authorized LifeSafer service center: customers can now go to Don’s for installation, monitoring, calibration, and all their ignition interlock needs.

Don offers the kind of hands-on expertise that only a longtime owner-technician can provide. He’s a self-described “one-man band playing all the instruments” with an encyclopedic knowledge of car electrical systems.

Don’s shop offers top-flight service to customers in Centralia, Herrin, Marion, Carbondale, Effingham, and other towns and cities in downstate Illinois. He services all makes and models of cars.

Brodie Taylor, LifeSafer State Director for Central and Southern Illinois, says, “Don has a lot of experience when it comes to ignition interlocks, so we are glad to welcome him to the LifeSafer family. Opening this location helps us keep up the great reputation we have worked so hard to build, and better serves our customers with our many locations throughout Illinois.”

Performance-CarDon, a man of few words, had this to say when asked what made his shop special. “It’s like the song – I’m still here after all these years.”

If you’re looking to install an ignition interlock, and you’re in downstate Illinois, call 888-812-9495 or go here to book your appointment at Don’s Stereo and Speed Center. Don will get you back on the road, legally and safely, in short order.