Ever had a conversation like that with a friend when you’ve been out socializing for the night? Chances are that you’ll yield to your friend’s persuasions and get behind the wheel, ignoring the small voice of reason inside your head that’s warning you’re about to do something stupid.
So if we know something is a bad idea, why do we do it anyway? Why don’t we choose to hang out with somebody who would give us better advice and encourage us to engage in less risky behavior? It’s a complicated answer that relates to the way our brain works and how we interact with those around us.
The media often popularizes driving under the influence (DUI) arrests, using them as plot points in comedies, action films, and crime mysteries. You have probably seen or read about fictional DUIs before, but experiencing a DUI in person is much different. Still, we can learn what not to do from examining famous fictional arrests.
The Arrest: In the Adam Sandler comedy, The Longest Yard (2005), police arrest Paul Crewe after a police chase and car accident. Crewe mocks one officer for his large ears and reveals an open container of beer. A televised police chase ensues, ending in Crewe crashing the Bentley and getting arrested.
Was one of your resolutions this year not to get behind the wheel of your vehicle if you’ve been drinking? How are you doing at keeping it? If you’re like most other people, now that we’re almost one month into 2017 many of your well-intentioned goals for changing your life have already gone by the wayside.
But there is a way to increase your success dramatically—and it’s not that hard to put into practice. It’s a technique that psychologists call implementation planning (or in less formal terms, if-then planning). You can employ this technique when you’re trying to lose weight, get a better handle on your emails at work or even when you’re trying to ensure that you don’t end up with a DUI conviction on your driving record.
The concept of using if-then statements to achieve a goal is not new; Peter Gollwitzer, a psychology professor at NYU, introduced the idea back in the 1990s. But people are revisiting the technique because studies have shown that this technique works extremely well in changing habits and helping people achieve desired behaviors.
Since the penalties can be so severe, drivers convicted of causing death or injuries in crashes involving a DUI in Los Angeles and other jurisdictions usually seek out every avenue of appeal. Many of their arguments center around the way that police and other personnel collect, store and handle the blood samples used to determine blood alcohol content.
In mid-October, the Florida Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal by John Goodman of his conviction on DUI manslaughter. According to the Florida Sun Sentinel, Goodman is arguing (through his lawyers) that the state’s rules for collecting and analyzing blood are inadequate and that they violate the rights of drivers charged with DUI.
The Goodman case is attracting a great deal of attention in Florida because the defendant is a millionaire known for founding the Wellington polo club. He’s currently serving a 16-year sentence in the death of Scott Patrick Wilson, age 23. Goodman’s Bentley slammed into Wilson’s Hyundai, sending the vehicle into a canal. Wilson drowned in his vehicle.
Police officers frequently find passengers in a vehicle when they’ve pulled someone over for DUI in Los Angeles. All too often those passengers suffer critical and sometimes fatal injuries if the car hits a light pole, another car or a wall.
In Spartansburg, South Carolina, Joshua Meadows was traveling between 67 and 74 miles per hour in a 35 mph zone when he lost control of his vehicle on the night of June 8th. The car spun, went off the road, climbed an embankment and then went airborne before hitting a tree with the passenger side door. One passenger, Harold Dean Fields, 57, lost his life in the crash. Two other passengers suffered serious injuries.
Meadows faces charges of felony DUI resulting in death and felony DUI resulting in great bodily injury. His blood alcohol level allegedly was 0.104, and he also tested positive for barbiturates, Benzodiazepine and cannabinoids.
Drivers looking to avoid charges of DUI in Los Angeles have tried many creative ways to avoid an arrest. They can make excuses, plead with the arresting officer to let them off and threaten the police department with reprisals by powerful friends. These attempts to evade DUI charges don’t work in the City of Angels, and they don’t work elsewhere either.
In the Chicago suburb of Riverside, Hazel Rojas didn’t avoid DUI charges when she told the arresting officer that she had many friends in the suburban police force. But that may have been due to the fact that she allegedly had already used many different excuses to prevent her arrest.
Police first noticed Rojas’ car when she reportedly neglected to go on a green light, then went 20 mph in a 35 mph zone. When an officer pulled her over, Rojas claimed that the alcohol he smelled was the result of her spilling alcohol on herself while serving customers at her workplace. But she reportedly failed the sobriety test and practically fell into the officer’s arms.
A police car is never a welcome sight to someone who has imbibed enough to risk an arrest for DUI in Los Angeles. But in Glendale, California, the police department is hoping that all motorists will think about the hazards of DUI when they see its new department vehicle coming down the street.
The front of the sedan features a black and white paint job—a traditional cop car look. The rear, however, looks like a yellow taxi.
A press release from the City of Glendale Police Department said the goal of the unique vehicle is to increase public awareness, to create discussion about the dangers of impaired driving and to remind motorists that they need to make responsible decisions when drinking. The police will use the vehicle for educational purposes and not for DUI enforcement.
Children learn from their parents’ behaviors, so people convicted of DUI in Los Angeles might want to ponder the future and think about what their kids might try when they’re old enough to drive. Will your children repeat your actions, or will they be so turned off by the repercussions of your DUI that they’ll vow never to get behind the wheel while impaired?
Here are two stories along those lines to chew on:
• In Richmond, Virginia, a mother left her 16-month-old son and a dog alone in a hotel room while she allegedly went out drinking. Police picked up Taliaferro Troupe, age 34, for DUI shortly before 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning, but the mother apparently didn’t remember to tell authorities or her family members about the child until seven hours later. Troupe’s mother and the hotel staff finally went to the room around 1:30 in the afternoon and found the child in soiled diapers and without access to food and water. No one knows how long the child had been in the room alone.
Some Los Angeles DUI drivers manage to evade police officers who try to stop them. Others collide with other cars but continue on their way missing a fender or a front headline. But when a DUI driver smashes into someone’s home, that encounter is usually enough to halt the progress–one way or another.
• In Chesterfield, Virginia, 29-year-old Edward Reid rammed several cars on the evening of Saturday, May 28th, before he hit a house on Sherwood Forest Drive. Although the collision stopped the car, it did not prevent Reid from taking off. Police caught up with the errant driver and charged him not only with DUI but also with hit and run and a misdemeanor drug possession charge.