100 Days and Nights: Preventing DWI in New Mexico

DWI Enforcement and 100 Days of Safe Driving in New Mexico Even with the reduction of drunk drivers on the roads in New Mexico and the success rates of the state’s ignition interlock programs, New Mexico still sees plenty of room for improvement in keeping the streets safe. In fact, New Mexico has pledged 100 days of fierce crime fighting against dangerous drivers in the state this summer. Because of this foresight, one could even go so far to say that in the heat of summer, a tall, cold one is the last thing you need before hitting the road.

Drunk driving awareness and road safety campaigns are most commonly held in the summer, and around holidays and three-day weekends. Still, it is impressive to see a state that has already made such great strides against drunk driving continue to put forth a strong effort to reduce their DWI numbers even more. Plus, the campaigns can reach those who aren’t already required to use an ignition interlock (a consequence of a first-time DWI conviction in New Mexico): potential drunk drivers who have never been arrested or convicted of the charge. Considering that by the time a DWI offender is caught, they’ve likely driven while intoxicated 80 other times, these campaigns are vital to the safety of New Mexico’s residents, and in all of our communities.

Through September 30 in New Mexico, be on the lookout for more saturation patrols, sobriety checkpoints and a stronger law enforcement presence looking for drunk drivers. While you’re at it, make sure to plan ahead if you’ll be drinking and have a safe and sober way to get home. You don’t want any of your  100 days of summer to be wasted on a DWI, and there’s no better way to make those summer memories happy than by keeping yourself, your family and your friends safe behind the wheel.

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo

celebrate cinco de mayo safelyMay 5th is a treasured day for many people in the U.S. and Mexico. It is one of those unofficial “holidays” that brings cultures together in celebration of independence, requiring plenty of Mexican food and ever-flowing taps of alcohol. This year, Cinco de Mayo lands on a very special day – a Tuesday. What is the best face of Tuesdays? TACO Tuesdays!

We all need a reason to cut loose and celebrate, and there aren’t many occasions when groups of people join together to just have fun. Birthdays don’t invite the same level of community festivities, and other holidays are reserved for religious and/or family purposes. Cinco de Mayo on a Taco Tuesday – well, that’s just poetry!

Still, even with this monumental collision of celebration, we all need to stay safe. After all, too much alcohol can lead to a drunk driving conviction, ignition interlock requirement, or facing other consequences at the end of the night. Instead, we ask that you remember to celebrate safely with the following tips:

  • Don’t drink too much. Even if you’re not driving, you still have to work the next day. If you are driving home after a Cinco de Mayo party, don’t drink at all.
  • Eat more tacos. The more you eat, the less room you have to drink. Plus, it is Taco Tuesday, a weekly celebration of those handheld delicacies.
  • Check yourself. If you don’t know what “taco cat” is, when spelled backwards, you need to call a cab or ask a friend for a ride home.
  • Just get a designated driver plan together. You can buy your DD all the tacos they want, and a fancy sombrero. They’ll appreciate the thought, and you’ll get home without worry.

In all seriousness, any occasion where tons of alcohol is expected can quickly lead to a dangerous decision once it is time to head home. Cinco de Mayo may only come once a year, but, it is also a reminder that celebrating independence also means you are responsible for remaining safe and sober. After all, the freedom you could lose after drinking and driving is exactly the opposite of remaining independent, and that’s something worth fighting for.

Season’s Greetings from Ignition Interlock Help

presentThere are plenty of reasons to be thankful during the holiday season, especially when we know we are doing our part to make great changes in the world. The sadness that is caused by drunk driving is nothing to experience during the holidays, or anytime throughout the year. That is why we continue to provide insight and information into the technology and benefits of ignition interlock devices. Drunk driving hurts too many people each year, and with a combination of education, counseling and ignition interlock devices, there is no doubt that those numbers can be reduced.

Our gratitude knows no boundaries, and we are lucky to be able to be a part of a global effort. This season, we know you will continue to be safe and sober behind the wheel, and offer others the same courtesy with a safe ride home. Your efforts to stop drunk drivers are no less than ours, and we are so very thankful for your commitment to safer streets.

Have a happy, healthy and wonderful holiday season and a wonderful New Year, and thank you for your continual support of Ignition Interlock Help.

No DUI Zone: Virginia to Host
2015 Wine Tourism Conference

virginia dui lawsNestled just west of Washington, D.C., is the Northern Virginia region, a landscape that changes from urban metrocenter to farmland and rolling hills. It is this county that has been announced as the spot for the 2015 Wine Tourism Conference, a chance for wineries and other wine-related parties to congegrate to discuss all aspects of domestic wines in the U.S. Since this conference centers around the production, marketing and distribution of wine, you know there will be plenty of tasting events and tours in Loudoun County, which may grow concerns over more drunk driving incidents in the region.

Even the most conscientious wine connoisseur must understand his or her limits when it comes to drinking, and Virginia’s DUI laws reflect a tough stance on anyone who is caught drinking and driving. There are limited public transportation options in Loudoun county and with the 2015 Wine Tourism Conference, more people will be on the roads, whether at the conference or visiting the many restaurants, bars and wineries in the area. As with any event that promotes alcohol, all visitors and attendees should understand that a first-time DUI conviction in Virginia is serious, with consequences that include:

  • A mandatory fine of at least $250.
  • Revocation of your driver’s license for one year.
  • Mandatory ignition interlock installation on at least one vehicle.

It is also important to keep in mind that even if you’re convicted of a DUI in Virginia, that information will be shared with the DMV and/or court system in your home state. This means that you will have to fulfill the requirements of your conviction, including the ignition interlock installation, even if you live outside of the Commonwealth.

Wine is a passion for many, and with the explosion of wineries across the country, the 2015 Wine Tourism Conference is a great chance for anyone to get the inside scoop on the industry and all it has to offer. Just remember that despite a conference devoted to wine, there are still DUI laws that must be followed for the safety of the residents of Loudoun County and all visitors to this up-and-coming wine region.

MADD Red Ribbon Week Fights Underage Drinking Oct 23-31

MADD Red Ribbon WeekIn 1980, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) was incorporated with a very specific purpose:

“To aid the victims of crimes performed by individuals driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, to aid the families of such victims and to increase public awareness of the problem of drinking and drugged driving.”

Since its beginning, MADD has saved more than 300,000 lives through promoting awareness, aiding victims of drunk driving accidents and by supporting vital ignition interlock legislation across the U.S.

Because of MADD’s dedication to ending underage drinking and drunk driving, you’ve probably noticed that more cars are wearing red ribbons of support for the organization. In October of each year, MADD runs a “Red Ribbon” campaign geared to educating teenagers and adults under the age of 21 about the dangers of underage drinking and driving. MADD’s Red Ribbon Week encourages students across the U.S. to take a pledge against underage drinking, as well as drinking and driving.

Not only can students and adults display their red ribbons of commitment against underage drinking, but, there are also contests and games for schools and community organizations that help increase awareness and understanding by all age groups.

With MADD’s Red Ribbon Week, the increase in awareness about underage drinking and drinking and driving helps recruit volunteers and shows legislators that the public supports stricter laws and policies concerning drunk drivers. Despite a “zero tolerance” policy across the U.S. regarding underage drinking and driving, teenage alcohol use kills 4,700 people each year. Through supporting MADD, Red Ribbon week and increasing the use of ignition interlock devices and other penalties for underage drinking, that number can be eliminated.

This year, support MADD’s Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31) and tie a red ribbon on your car to let your community know you stand against underage drinking. You could help save a life.

 

April is National Distracted Driving Month

distracted drivingApril is National Distracted Driving Month. Every day preventable accidents occur due to distracted driving. Many people have heard the campaigns against texting and driving, but distracted driving can encompass a wide range of behavior behind the wheel.  Better understanding of distracted driving and why it is so dangerous is important to help promote general road safety.

Distracted driving is defined as any action that takes attention away from the driver’s primary task of operating a vehicle. All distracted behavior endangers not only the life of the driver, but also the lives of any passengers, other drivers, and innocent bystanders. These distracted behaviors include, but are not limited to, texting, using a cell phone or smartphone, eating and drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, using GPS or other navigational devices, reading, watching videos, smoking, and adjusting music players. Engaging in visual distractions while driving increases your chance of getting into an accident by three times. The most dangerous distractions are the ones that split your attention in different ways involving your visual, cognitive, and manual attention.

One form of distracted driving that splits your attention in all three of these ways is texting and driving. At any given moment in a day, 660,000 drivers in America are using phones or using electronic devices while driving, according to distraction.gov. Distraction.gov also states that a quarter of all teenagers send a text at least once every time they drive.  20% of teenagers and 10% of parents admit to having longer text conversations while driving. The average text message distracts a driver for about five seconds. If the driver is driving at highway speeds, that is about 300 feet that the driver is not paying attention to. The simple act of sending a text message, unfortunately often has very real consequences. The National Safety Council reports that at least 28% of all car accidents happen because of cellphone use while driving. That doesn’t include other forms of distracted driving. Many of these accidents result in serious injuries and even deaths. When you think of the possible consequences of texting and driving you have to wonder, what text could be worth someone’s life? What phone call can’t wait?

One of the greatest ways we can confront the problem of distracted driving is through education. By making drivers aware of potentially dangerous driving behavior, we can help put an end to distracted driving. If more drivers would put down the cell phones and other distractions, we would make our roads safer places. Every accident that occurs as a result of distracted driving is 100% preventable. So next time you’re on the road, practice safe driving habits. Put your phone on silent or vibrate when you’re driving, pull over to send emails or listen to voicemails, and tell your friends and family you’ll answer them once you reach your destination. They’ll thank you for it in the long run.

The Reality of Drinking and Driving

For many, understanding the tragedy of a loved one’s death that resulted from a drunk driving accident is impossible. In Texas, however, the reality of drinking and driving has been shown to residents through a touching display. Cypress Creek Mirror reports that a memorial to the 1,170 people killed by a drunk driver in Texas in 2012 was on display over the Independence Day holiday weekend. This memorial included flags with photos of the victims, as well as a vehicle that was totaled by one of the accidents in 2013. Read more here: Illustrating the human cost of drunken driving in Texas

 

Safe & Sober Driving this Thanksgiving

Drive Sober this ThanksgivingDrinking and driving is a problem for many throughout the year, putting the lives of others at risk across the United States. Statistics show, however, that the night before Thanksgiving is the biggest drinking night of the year, when family and friends gather together and celebrate a long weekend of food, alcohol and togetherness. Unfortunately, as the biggest drinking night of the year, Thanksgiving Eve is also one of the most dangerous nights for drivers on the road. Knowing and understanding the risks involved with drinking and driving is an important aspect of all Thanksgiving celebrations.

According to M.A.D.D., in 2010, 40% of highway deaths (174 people) occurred over the entire Thanksgiving holiday weekend. This figure is a 30% increase in drunk driving related fatalities over the course of the year. The day before Thanksgiving, known as “Blackout Wednesday” contributes significantly to these figures, as people choose to celebrate by drinking excessive amounts of alcohol without a designated driver safety plan in place. Choosing to drink and drive over the safety of the drinker, family, friends or others on the road is no way to celebrate, and in fact, can bring about devastating tragedies that forever mark Thanksgiving and the entire holiday season for everyone.

If alcohol is on the menu on the night before Thanksgiving, the best way to ensure a safe drive home for everyone is to have a designated driver safety plan in place. This can be as simple as asking a friend or family member to refrain from drinking in order to be able to soberly operate a vehicle. Other designated driver options include having the phone numbers of taxi companies readily available, or to make use of community-sponsored designated driver programs.

On the biggest drinking night of the year, be sure your Thanksgiving plans include a safe way to get home after drinking alcohol. By planning ahead and understanding the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol, you can keep the Thanksgiving celebrations happy and joyous throughout the years to come.

Planning Ahead with Designated Drivers for Holiday Parties

The holiday season is rapidly approaching, bringing fun events, celebrations and parties at work and with family and friends. During this time of the year, the food, festivities and alcoholic beverages seem endless, and while a great time can be had by all, each holiday season brings a sobering fact to light – drinking and driving do not mix.

Planning Ahead with Designated Drivers for Holiday PartiesAlcohol-related injuries and fatalities are far too common in the U.S. and around the world. While nobody may set out with the intention to get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol, one in three motor vehicle crashes involve a driver who has been drinking alcohol. An intoxicated person can not only show impaired judgment when attempting to get behind the wheel of a car, but, that poor judgment continues as the person starts up the vehicle and drives, putting everyone on the road at risk for injury or even death.

With a little careful planning, vehicle accidents involving a driver under the influence of alcohol can be avoided or eliminated completely. Designated drivers are a smart choice when it comes to being safe behind the wheel, creating a feeling of safety and peace of mind for all. Assigning a designated driver within a group of co-workers, family or friends is one of the best solutions to the problem of drinking and driving. During the holiday season, in fact, many bars and restaurants offer free, non-alcoholic drinks to the designated drivers in the mix. For private parties and gatherings, a designated driver can not only enjoy the festivities, but can also be proud of making a difference in the lives of those who could be a victim of a drunk driver.

Many local establishments, taxi companies and motor vehicle associations also offer free or discounted rides to people that are unable to drive safely. These community services take the place of a designated driver, and offer a life-saving opportunity to those who have had too much to drink while at a holiday celebration. If a designated driver is not available, keep a list of these services handy. If there is a doubt about your own ability to drive, or someone else’s level of intoxication, call for a ride.

For the holiday season, a little preparation and planning is the best way to avoid an alcohol-related motor vehicle accident. By staying safe and relying on a designated driver, alcohol-related fatalities and injuries during the holidays can be virtually eliminated, allowing the fun to continue throughout the holidays and years to come.