Law enforcement agencies often target holidays and popular party days as a time to step up DUI check points and DUI enforcement.
This was the case for the most recent Super Bowl Sunday, as cops stepped up their presences on the nation’s highways, hoping to cut down on DUI and encourage responsible alcohol consumption.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that Super Bowl Sunday is one of the more dangerous days to drive as a result of impaired driving. The administration notes that almost half of fatal accidents in that time period are a result of impaired drivers with a blood-alcohol content above .08. The NHTSA’s message on Super Bowl Sunday: “Fans don’t let fans drive drunk.”
The message may be working, as early reports show a relatively safe and quiet Super Bowl weekend.
In Oregon, there were 58 drivers arrested for DUI across the state on Super Bowl weekend. This figure is similar to numbers from last year around the same time, according to Oregon State Police.
There were 14 arrests in the Springfield area, 8 around Salem, and 7 each in Portland and Tualatin.
There were no fatal accidents in Oregon.
Even north of the border DUI patrols were heightened surrounding the Super Bowl. The Toronto Observer called it “one the largest RIDE blitzes in the city’s history.”
Despite the large effort, only three arrests were made for drinking and driving on Super Bowl weekend. Seven cars were towed in that time. The previous year, nine arrests were made for DUI.
Said Sergeant Jack West of the Super Bowl patrols: “We know that people are going to be celebrating and including alcoholic beverages. So knowing that, we want to go out there and keep the roads safe. This is all about saving lives.”
Las Vegas DUI
As some 300,000 people descended on Las Vegas for the big game, police stepped up their DUI patrols. These efforts resulted in 29 drunk driving arrests in the Las Vegas area. Most of these arrests came from traffic stops, and only three came after traffic accidents.
There could be some big changes in the DUI laws in Oregon and Rhode Island. The legislatures in both states are considering amendments to the current laws, and, though nothing has been passed yet, you should be aware of the potential changes.
In Oregon, current DUI law makes it difficult to remove a DUI offense from your record, even if the charges were later dropped, lessened or acquitted.
The new law would make it easier to clear your DUI records if you aren’t convicted of the crime.
In Rhode Island, the new law would give police greater power to request and obtain search warrants in order to draw blood from DUI suspects in order to perform a DUI blood alcohol content test.
The law would only apply to DUI cases where an auto accident is involved.
A woman in Oregon set a terrible new DUI record recently.
A 42-year-old woman was found by paramedics passed out at the wheel of her car, which had been driven into a snow bank. The car’s engine was still on and paramedics broke a window to get the driver out.
She was taken to the hospital where tests revealed a blood alcohol level of .72%.
A quick breakdown of BAC levels and some of the health risks.
- .08 Legal limit
- .16 Very pronounced alcohol effects, dangerous health risks
- .20 A person may be able to injure themselves and not feel the pain. Walking may be very difficult
- .25 Increased risk of asphyxiation.
- .30 Death possible
- .35 As if the person were under surgical anesthesia
- .40 Comatose likely, high risk of respiratory arrest and death
These risks don’t include the dangers of drinking and driving, such as the high auto accident death rates.
The director of “Good Will Hunting,” “Drugstore Cowboy,” “My Own Private Idaho” and many other films has been recently arrested on DUI charges in Portland, Oregon.
Gus Van Sant was stopped at a stoplight early Thursday morning when Portland police noticed him driving his 2006 Porsche Cayenne without headlights on. According to Sgt. Brian Schmautz, officers quickly detected “glassy eyes, slurred speech and the smell of alcohol,” and pulled over the famed director.
The 54-year-old Van Sant failed field sobriety tests and blew a .19 breathalyzer, which is more than two times the legal 0.08 blood alcohol content limit in Oregon DUI law. A January 17th court date has been set for the misdemeanor Gus Van Sant DUI charge.
Van Sant was nominated for an Academy Award for 1997’s “Good Will Hunting,” starring Matt Damon, Robin Williams and Ben Affleck. Other notable actors in Van Sant films include Heather Graham, Vince Vaughn, Matt Dillon, Sean Connery, William H. Macy, Julianne Moore, Anne Heche, Keanu Reeves and Viggo Mortensen.