A Safe Super Bowl – At Least For Your Party Guests

Injuries are part of football — as this is being written the Seahawks’ cornerback Richard Sherman is nursing a sprained elbow, and the Patriots’ Bryan Stork has knee problems. But the deadliest injuries this Super Bowl Sunday will happen not within the confines of a Glendale, Arizona stadium, but on roads and streets all over the country, in the hours following the game.

Safe Partying this Super BowlThe Super Bowl has become a cultural festival in America, one that involves copious amounts of food and alcohol. Those who host a Super Bowl party should be aware that if they are not careful, they will be sending alcohol-impaired drivers out on the roads. To avoid that, here are some party hints:

  • Provide non-alcoholic drinks: In addition to the beer, be sure to have water and non-alcoholic drinks out. You’d be surprised how many people drink less if there’s another option around.
  • Serve food: Have some hearty food available — not just chips and snacks — and encourage people to eat. A full stomach slows alcohol absorption in one’s system.
  • Collect car keys: Have a bowl into which people deposit their car keys. This gives you some leverage if someone with a few too many beers under his or her belt wants to drive.
  • Appoint a designated driver: Keep track of anyone who isn’t drinking, and request their services as designated driver. Most people are happy to pitch in.
  • Rides, rides, rides: If you know you are going to have tipsy guests, plan ahead. Have a designated driver collect them before the game, so there’s no temptation to drive. Otherwise, have the number of a taxi or ride share service handy.

Football-fansYou want this Super Bowl to be memorable, not just as a game, but as a get-together with friends as well. Make sure those friends get home in one piece as well, by doing a bit of planning.

You can’t prevent injuries on the field, but drunk driving is fully preventable, on Super Bowl Sunday and every day of the year.

In Denver and Colorado Springs,
Sentry Interlock Has You Covered

In Colorado, one company covers a lot of territory: Sentry Interlock. Specialists in all matters relating to ignition interlocks, Sentry offers drivers three convenient locations where drivers can obtain top-notch service: one facility in Denver, and two in Colorado Springs. We welcome Sentry Interlock to the LifeSafer family of ignition interlock providers.

Sentry Interlock of Colorado Springs and Denver provides Ignition Interlock serviceAt each location Sentry has highly-trained interlock specialists who cover all bases: installation, monitoring, calibration, and removal. Their personnel will also train customers in the proper operation of the device, and communicate with the DMV so that you are always in compliance with laws and regulations.

Sentry Interlock’s Denver location on South Trenton Way is convenient to both Denver and Aurora. That location also serves customers from Centennial and Highlands Ranch.

In Colorado Springs, the Northpark location is at the intersection of Garden of the Gods and I-25. The Town Center Drive facility is on Platte between Powers and Academy. Both of the Colorado Springs locations serve Manitou Springs, Old Colorado City, Security, Woodland Park, Cascade, Green Mountain Falls, and Falcon, among other towns and cities.

Sentry Interlock of Colorado Springs and Denver provides Ignition Interlock serviceBecause Sentry does ignition interlocks and only ignition interlocks, you are assured that they will take great care of you and make the whole process as easy as possible. Their experienced technicians will answer your questions and treat you in a courteous, confidential and professional manner.

If you need an ignition interlock in Colorado, there’s no quicker or easier way to get back on the road, safely and legally, than by calling up Sentry Interlock on 888-855-0630. Or go here for the Denver location, here for the Northpark Drive Colorado Springs location, and here for the Town Center Drive Location, also in Colorado Springs. And travel well and safely!

Your Hump-Day Recess: Liar Making
Funny Excuses For His Ignition Interlock

Courts and DMVs order ignition interlocks for one reason only: to protect the public against drunk drivers. That’s what interlocks do best. By preventing the car from starting if the driver has had anyting to drink, interlocks are proven to reduce alcohol-related road fatalities.

There is an added effect, however. If you’ve been ordered to install an interlock, you’re left with the problem of explaining to your passengers just what that device on your dashboard is, and why you’re breathing into it. A very funny PSA from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety shows how one DUI offender explains it away.

This is probably a good time to emphasize that, apart from being reckless and potentially lethal, drunk driving can be very costly, both in monetary terms – fines, court fees, lost work time – and also in terms of reputation. A DUI can be humiliating.

To lessen the embarrassment, here is an alternative that the man in the film should know about. LifeSafer offers the Camo Cup, which disguises the interlock inside a coffee cup so that your interlock remains a private matter.

Ideally, you should never drink and drive. But if you find yourself facing the proposition of an ignition interlock, consider the Camo Cup. Unless you’re very, very good at thinking up explanations.

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: a German Ignition Interlock spoof from 1960, our 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 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, Thai drunk-driving ad,  Why did you end up the designated driver, Michael Rooker’s extremely long and weird PSAHow Much Stupidity Can You Bear and A Clever Restaurant Prank.

An Ignition Interlock Law for Texas
Would Be a Fitting Memorial to Abdallah

In 2009 two-year-old Abdallah Kader was riding in his parents’ car when a drunk driver crashed a pickup truck into it, causing serious and irreversible brain damage. The driver, one Stewart Richardson, had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) about three times the legal limit.

An ignition interlock law would prevent some tragediesAfter six years in a vegetative state, Abdallah died, leaving behind grieving parents and a lot of questions.

Why was a driver with seven DUI convictions on record, including one for an injury-causing crash, out on the road? What could have been done to prevent this horrible event?

In fact, a law called the Abdella Khader Act did pass, but its scope was limited to the tragedy in question: it raises to felony status a drunk driving offense in which a victim is left in a vegetative state, and increases jail time for DWI cases in which the offender’s blood alcohol content is twice the legal limit.

ignition-interlock-lawWhat was needed, and is still needed, is a law which prevents such tragedies as the one that befell Abdallah. Ignition interlock laws might have done it. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) recommends that every DUI offender – including first offenders – should have to install an ignition interlock on their vehicle for a set mandatory period of time. This period would lengthen for subsequent offenses. In fact, a number of states can impose a lifetime ignition interlock restriction on incorrigible repeat offenders. Those people can continue to drink, but they cannot start their car if they have been drinking. The driver who caused the 2009 crash would have been a good candidate for a lifetime interlock.

Texas needs to do more to honor the memory of Abdallah Kader. Passing a comprehensive ignition interlock law – one that includes first offenders – would be the right thing to do.

Oklahoma Threatens to Go All the Way:
Ban Alcohol Sales to DUI Offenders

Don't ban alcohol for DUI - require ignition interlocksAn Oklahoma state senator has proposed a new law that would ban persons with a DUI from buying any alcohol at all. The law, if passed, would require people with DUI convictions to be issued a replacement ID with the words ”alcohol restricted” on it. It would be against the law to sell such people alcohol, or otherwise supply them with it. The bill, proposed state Senator Patrick Anderson, was introduced to help reduce the number of deaths from alcohol-related crashes.

Does Banning Work?

There is evidence that banning substances can affect consumption, such as smoking bans in public and work places, which have led to reductions in smoking in general. However, the proposal has attracted objections on several grounds:

  • Enforcement – Anyone selling beer, wine or spirits would have to check the ID of every customer, making shopping a more time-consuming process.
  • Exceptions – What about a baker who sells a rum cake to a customer? What about religious rites that employ wine? If you’ve invited guests for dinner, can you buy some wine to bring home for them?
  • Overreach – Alcohol is legal for adults in all 50 states. Can you really forbid someone from purchasing something legal?

The measure was proposed for an old reason: something must be done.

But “something” is not “anything.” In fact, there is already an effective measure available for repeat DUIs – it acts not only as a deterrent, but as an actual preventive: the ignition interlock. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.

Currently Oklahoma requires ignition interlocks for first-time offenders only if they were arrested with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or greater – almost twice the legal limit for intoxication. On the other hand, 24 states now require interlocks for all first-time DUI offenses with BACs over .08. And states with those laws have seen a reduction in alcohol-related road deaths.

Senator Anderson’s proposal is ambitious and well-intentioned, but it’s also untested and requires a lot of people to get on board. Ignition interlocks, on the other hand, are proven to do the job, and they require action only by the offender and those who install and monitor the interlocks.

Oklahoma needs to go with the proven solution – ignition interlocks.

There’s No Such Thing as a
Disabled Ignition Interlock

Every once in a while a news story comes up about a DUI offender who is arrested and found to have a disabled ignition interlock. Most recently, a man in Wellsville, Pennsylvania was arrested twice in a 48-hour period for drunk driving, having disconnected the ignition interlock that had been mandated by the courts for a previous DUI conviction. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.

You can't disable an ignition interlockIn this case, the man was stopped because there was a lighting issue with his truck. But he would have been apprehended anyway. Why? Because there’s no such thing as a disabled ignition interlock.

It is possible, of course, to snip wires, or rig up some kind of bypass. But what the offender didn’t know, or didn’t care about, was that every test, every pass and fail and aborted test, as well as total mileage driven is recorded. That data is downloaded at the regular monitoring appointment.

This leaves two possible outcomes for the man who hot-wired his car breathalyzer:

  1. He comes in to have the data downloaded. The data reveal the tampering, and that the truck was driven many miles without a test – which is impossible. The data is forwarded to law enforcement for action.
  2. He skips his regular monitoring appointment. In that case, law enforcement is notified immediately as he is no longer in compliance with court orders.

Police LightsOf course, the only reason to try to defeat an ignition interlock is to drive while drinking. That is a sure way to either get arrested or to cause a crash.

The fact that this and other stories about so-called disabled ignition interlocks appear in the news is proof that tampering doesn’t work. And it’s also proof that ignition interlocks do. The devices have their own built-in enforcement. Wherever they are employed, alcohol-related crash numbers go down.

The upshot – a technology solution that saves lives and keeps roads safe is one you don’t want to tamper with.

New Location: We Welcome Ferebee Enterprises II of Georgetown Delaware

Ferebee-Crest

The Ferebee Crest

One of LifeSafer’s newest providers has a history. Ferebee Enterprises II of Georgetown Delaware has been offering a full menu of towing and auto repair services since 2006. The Ferebee name, however, goes back to the 1300s. Perhaps that’s why this unique shop treats every customer as if they’ve got 700 years of reputation to protect.

You can go to Ferebee for all LifeSafer ignition interlock related services: installation, monitoring, calibration, and training. Their technicians are fully qualified to install and maintain interlocks in any kind of vehicle. They’ll answer your questions and make sure that you get back behind the wheel with confidence.

One of the reasons the proprietor, John Ferebee, and his staff are so experienced is that they stay busy. Their motto is, “If it runs on fuel, we fix it.” Cars and light and heavy Ferebee-Workingtrucks are all brought to Ferebee for maintenance and repair. In addition to interlocks, the shop services brakes, transmissions, heating and cooling systems, and they do all scheduled maintenance. Ferebee also offers handicap equipment, road service, and more.

The location serves not only Georgetown but the surrounding towns and cities, including Milford, Dover, and Seaford.

If you’re looking to install an ignition interlock in Delaware, call 888-812-9495 or go here to book your appointment at Ferebee Enterprises II.

Safe driving to you!

Your Hump-Day Recess:
Prank Illustrates a Point about Drunk Driving

From Brazil comes a prank that is also a thought-provoking message against drunk driving. A restaurant appears to employ a parking valet who is completely intoxicated. The idea is to record the patrons’ reactions with a hidden camera: how many of them would let a drunk park their car? And then comes the message. A very well done PSA by Ogilvy & Mather of São Paolo.

The ad, on behalf of São Paolo establishments Bar Aurora and Boteco Ferraz, won awards at Cannes. Having (what one presumes to be) a hidden camera capturing real people, rather than actors delivering lines, gives both immediacy and humor to the situation.

Public safety advocates are tasked with persuading us to think and act rationally. Perhaps a prank makes a bigger impression than a lecture.

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, Thai drunk-driving ad,  Why did you end up the designated driver, Michael Rooker’s extremely long and weird PSA and How Much Stupidity Can You Bear?

Can I Overload a Breathalyzer?

Most of us, if we are concerned at all about alcohol blood levels, are concerned about how much we can drink and still drive. But there are levels of drunkenness that go far beyond legal impairment. Thankfully, most of us don’t venture into those regions, but they do exist.

BAC-Danger-ChartThere is a point at which alcohol is a lethal poison. Apparently one can consume more alcohol than even a breathalyzer manufacturer imagined was possible.

Recently police in Longmont, Colorado picked up a woman for DUI. She admitted to drinking a liter of rum and some vodka. If that admission could not be considered enough of a fail, she proceeded to flunk two tests. First, when asked to recite the alphabet backwards (an optional part of a field sobriety test) she said “W, Q, X, O.”

Then she was given a breathalyzer test. Her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was so high that the device flashed an error message. She actually overloaded the device.

As it turns out, her level was 4.4, more than five times the legal limit for drunkenness. And a pretty astonishing amount.

In fact, 4.4 is solidly within the “life threatening” range. The symptoms at this level are (or should have been, for the woman) difficulty remaining conscious, vomiting, seizures, and a slow heart rate. Her body temperature would have fallen, and her skin would have been cold and clammy. She should have likely gone into a coma, and died from respiratory arrest.

She didn’t, however. For whatever reason, she survived, was checked and cleared by medical personnel, and taken to jail. Many people with less alcohol in their systems have not been so lucky.

You are probably too sensible to drink a liter of rum at one go, much less with a vodka chaser. Most people are. But it pays to know what the danger levels are. If you encounter someone else who has drunk that much, get him or her to a hospital right away.

So yes, you can overload a breathalyzer. And you can overload your system too. Both are incredibly bad ideas.

New DWI Laws in Louisiana Are Tough – But They Could Be Tougher

In the US, it’s a battle fought on fifty fronts – fifty states, all enacting their own DWI laws, seeing what works, trying new ideas to prevent what we know is a preventable disaster – the alcohol-related road fatality.

Louisiana's DWI Laws Could Be TougherLouisiana has just stepped up its game with tougher drunk driving laws that have just gone into effect. First DWI offenders in that state will now face a minimum of 10 days in jail. This is an unusually stiff punishment compared with that levied by most states.

However, jail time can be avoided if the offender agrees to go on probation. One condition of the probation is to complete 32 hours of community service.

Here is where you can tell that Louisiana has been paying attention. With the new law, driving privileges are revoked during probation unless the offender installs an ignition interlock in his or her vehicle. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.

This is a good plan, as far as it goes. Ignition interlocks, after all, are proven to reduce alcohol-related road fatalities. They are the only legal measure that actually prevents a driver from re-offending.

However, if offenders can choose to “wait out” the suspension and not have an interlock installed, then the law is not doing as much as it could to protect innocent lives. Studies show that 50 to 75 percent of drivers with suspended licenses continue to drive despite the suspension. So the license suspension will not be an effective way to keep drivers off the road – and that includes drunk drivers.

While Louisiana’s new law has an admirable intent, it would be stronger if the option to wait out the suspension was removed, and interlocks were mandatory for all offenses.