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Nationwide Drunk Driving Crackdown Kicks Off in Arlington

by ARLnow.com December 13, 2010 at 11:59 am 2,644 58 Comments

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood kicked off his department’s annual holiday drunk driving crackdown from the Arlington County Jail this morning.

The nationwide law enforcement and public outreach initiative — with the tagline “Drunk Driving: Over the Limit, Under Arrest” — will spend more than $7 million on national TV and radio advertising starting Wednesday. It seeks to reduce the number of drunk driving crashes around the holidays. Last year, 753 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes during the month of December alone.

Today LaHood highlighted the new “No Refusal” strategy that a number of states are adopting. “No Refusal” allows police officers to quickly obtain warrants from on-call judges in order to get blood samples from suspects who refuse to take a breathalyzer test.

“Drunk driving remains a leading cause of death and injury on our roadways,” LaHood said in a statement. “I applaud the efforts of the law enforcement officials who have pioneered the ‘No Refusal’ approach to get drunk drivers off our roads.”

LaHood was joined by National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland and Mothers Against Drunk Driving President Laura Dean-Mooney at a press conference at the Arlington County Jail. A number of law enforcement officials from around the country were also present at the event, which kicked off at 10:30 this morning.

Virginia has a form of the “No Refusal” strategy currently in place. The state’s “implied consent” law calls for a drivers’ license to be suspended if he or she refuses to take a chemical test when stopped on suspicion of driving while intoxicated on a state road.

  • TGEoA

    Refuse anyways, though you will certain to get a contempt of charge tossed at you.

  • PikeHoo

    Even better, don’t drink and drive.

    • DWI NO!

      Amen.

  • DT

    Just in time for this, the County Board denied permits for additional taxi cabs. I am sure if those cabs were driven by illegal aliens, they would have been allowed. 😀

  • DWI NO!

    I’ll preface with I do not condone in any way driving while intoxicated.

    That said, let me understand this…. A judge who has no personal knowledge of your actions, disposition, smell, or any other observation is going to be standing by to issue a warrant “quickly”?

    Drunk drivers and the actions they cause is indeed a very serious problem. But what if I were someone who just has an odd disposition, but isn’t intoxicated in any way? The police officer can have a judge immediately issue a warrant without any “real” probable cause? When do the actions of the guilty begin to infringe upon the rights of the innocent? (Say, at a checkpoint…..)

    “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

    I’m not an attorney either, so don’t flame please.

    • mehoo

      “A judge who has no personal knowledge of your actions, disposition, smell, or any other observation is going to be standing by to issue a warrant “quickly”? ”

      Um, isn’t that how all warrants are issued?

      “But what if I were someone who just has an odd disposition, but isn’t intoxicated in any way?”

      Then the test will clear him.

      “The police officer can have a judge immediately issue a warrant without any “real” probable cause?”

      It IS real probable cause to observe someone seems drunk. It’s not certain he’s drunk, but that’s why they call it “probable” cause, and why we have breathalyzer or blood tests.

      • The Noze Bros

        I had a cop (Fairfax Co, not Arl) pull me over once for “weaving inside my lane”. He had previously stopped by a party I was attending to quiet us down, then tailed the next person out (which was me). I was sober (politely refused the roadside “tests” but blew .02 on their breathalyzer). Scary to think that this dingus would be able to stick a needle in me had I refused the breathalyzer.

      • BasedHerein

        Mehoo’s justification that “the test will clear him” if the cops give an inappropriate field or breathalyzer test to a driver is pretty short-sighted. It suggests that the police should always presume guilt and search/seize unchecked because, stated differently, “if you have nothing to hide…”

        That is not a police state in which I want to live.

        • mehoo

          That wasn’t my justification though.

          I didn’t say that the fact that the test would clear him is justification for ANY search. I just noted that this is about a search, not a presumption of guilt.

          I agree with you that the “if you have nothing to hide, you shouldn’t mind being searched” argument is bogus.

  • Bluemont John

    “unreasonable searches and seizures…”

    The key word here: “Unreasonable.”

    If you are driving so erratically that a cop pulls you over on suspicion of DUI, then it is by no means unreasonable for you to be asked to do a brethalyzer test. If you’re sober, what do you have to hide?

    And if your disposition is so “odd” that your driving resembles that of a drunk person, you need counseling, driver’s ed–or better yet, a bus pass.

    • DWI NO!

      My point is less if you’ve been witnessed and driving erratically. It is more to a check point where everyone is being stopped. What if my eyes are bloodshot from something other than alcohol (crying, swimming, etc.) and that is used as “probable cause”. All I am suggesting is things are more and more headed to “blow in this tube or go to jail” for EVERYONE. That’s all I’m saying.

      • mehoo

        I would imagine bloodshot eyes would not get you a test. They’d look for other signs first, like doing a field sobriety test or smelling your breath.

  • Mike

    Where were the checkpoints Saturday night? Believe there was one on Glebe south of Columbia Pike. Any others?

  • SoCo Resident

    “Come to Arlington and DRINK A LOT” is the message the County Government has been shouting for the past few years as bar after bar after bar is licensed. Add to that the utter lack of enforcement at adult group house alcohol-fueled parties which leave neighbors absolutely helpless. So, surprise, there are a lot of drunks driving around! You wanted it; you got it! (If ur gonna drink, DON’T drive and ull have so much worry free fun!)

    • AllenB

      That’s pretty damn ignorant. The mere presence of bars is NOT an invitation to drive drunk. You can drink responsibly (as most do) and still be able to drive when the night is over. And there is Metro and taxi cabs to help if you can’t.

      If the mere sight of a bar causes you to drink too much, SoCo, then stay home.

      • PikeHoo

        Absolutely. Driving drunk is a choice. If you’re going to party, plan transportation in advance to avoid potentially killing/maiming someone else on the road.

      • DWI NO!

        “Drink responsibly”, whatever that means, and get stopped at a check point. When the police officer asks you if you have had anything to drink, are you going to answer him “I have been drinking responsibly.”? Better catch your breath because you are going to be blowing, walking a stright line, saying your A, B, C’s backwards, etc…..

        There really is no such thing as “drinking responsibly” if you are behind the wheel….at least in the eyes of the law.

        I would suggest you lie when asked and say “No. I’m the designated driver.”.

        • SoCo Resident

          “Drink responsibly” was a catch phrase invented by the distilled spirits council. And,as DWI-NO states there is no such thing. And, don’t think you can “fool the cops” because they have seen and heard everything. Walk, cab, metro to the bar; have a good time but don’t even think about having “just one” and driving. None!

          It is getting to be the time of year for lots of side-swipping of cars on our streets from Clarendon “patrons.”

          • I have a beer or 2 and drive all the time (and will not stop doing so… It’s called understanding myself and my limits. If I have more than is reasonable I will not get on the road).
            At no point have I ever driven drunk or impared.

          • DWI NO!

            Daniel: Two beers over the course of an hour will blow positive above the limit whether you feel or act impaired or not. Not judging. I agree with you mostly, but realize you can be arrested when you feel and act absolutely fine.

          • SoCo Resident

            Daniel, I am glad you, like so many others, “know yourself and your limits.” Keep intouch and let us know how your risky approach to drinking and driving works.

          • Not necessarily. It depends on: If you have had food, your physical health, your livers condition and time. And age, sex and weight have no small factor in it as well.
            Now mind you, I am looking forward to the days of autodriving cars where this is no longer a consideration, but until then I strongly believe that this puritanical position on alcohol is ridiculious….

          • SoCo: Pretty damn good for the past 15 years. I know it is crazy talk but there is such as thing as personal knowlege and responsibility still in this country. I can actually make reasonable and safe decisions without the government telling me how to do things.

          • el fat kid

            a couple thoughts…

            DWI NO and SOCO are totally nuts and off base. A beer or two over the course of an hour will not cause you to blow above .08 unless your under 100lbs and/or you’ve been drinking in the last fifteen minutes and it’s still fresh on your breath.

            In general one beer/drink equals .02 for average guys and around .025 for females depending on size and processing speed. Most people can process about .02 per hour though that can vary by as much as .01.

            Pope, i think you argument against MADD based on incentives is beyond that of the 9/11 conspiracy theorists in terms of sanity. I’m not a fan MADD and think they have totally tainted the public policy debate on drunk driving but claiming they are profiting from it is insane. .08 is at the low-end of an arbitrary estimate of measuring one’s impairment and breathlyzers are horribly inconsistent. Also, people are completely different in appearance, behavior, chemistry, etc… Alcohol impacts people differently so they have argued to set the bar at the lowest level possible.

        • DWI NO!

          Nobody should drive while impaired, period. That said, it is very sad the government can essentially dictate your ability to have a glass of wine with dinner and drive home. You risk going to jail doing so.

          The DC area has more of a problem with angry drivers. The extreme on that is road rage. There are oh so many people out there who drive aggressively and angrily putting people at risk every day. Yet, as a society, we don’t stop them and check their blood pressure to see if it is elevated or in some other way measure their anger.

      • SoCo Resident

        “The mere presence of bars is NOT an invitation to drive drunk,” states Allen B, perhaps a bar owner himself since his speil sounds like he’s one. The proliferation of bars is the perfect climate for drunk driving and other problems, as any expert can tell you. Allen B also encourages drinking and driving: “You can drink responsibly and still be able to drive when the night is over.” These are famous last words of drunk driving killers and those whose lives are legally ruined because they “thought” they were drinking responsibly. Ignore Allen’s irresponsible advice and DON’T Drink and drive AT ALL. By giving someone else the keys, you will have much more fun.

        But, look what the liquor license-granting County Government has created.

        • Andrew

          By your logic, it is the county’s fault for allowing restaurants to open because I may go there, eat too much food, and become morbidly obese.

          • SoCo Resident

            People who are morbidly obese don’t kill innocent victims when they leave. They damage only themselves. My logic is that the County has freely allowed way too many liquor licenses and the citizens will pay the consequences: increased drunk driving, crime, etc. There are many laws on alcohol comsumption and related behavior; there aren’t on over-eating, Andrew!

          • DWI NO!

            Those who eat way too much, and are obese, do create a burden on society through health care costs. Same is true for alcoholics. There is that common thread. Still, the fat don’t kill people. Eating four Big Mac’s or three boxes of candy and getting behind the wheel won’t kill anyone….unless you go into a diabetic coma.

            If Uncle Sam can take your breath to check your sobriety, don’t be surprised if he doesn’t want your blood to check and track your cholesterol too.

        • AllenB

          SoCo (the neighborhood created by Ignorance and Puritanicalism), I’m a finance geek by profession, so that’s about as far from owning a bar as one can get. As for my drinking habits, I rarely do. A couple of glasses of wine a week for me is all I have. But I do understand that you can drink responsibly AND drive yourself home at the end of the evening. Sounds like you’d like to see us back in the days of prohibition.

          • SoCo Resident

            “Daniel” and “Allen B” both have used the “puritanical” word in association with me, when I have never said anything relating to “prohibiting alcohol.” I am saying hand over the keys and have a good time. And, I am saying to the County “build (bars) and they will come” and drive drunk. This is what you get with a concentration of bars! (Can’t wait to tell friends I’ve been labeled a puritan! LOL)

          • AllenB

            That’s not entirely true, SoCo; I used the word “ignorance” as well.

        • mehoo

          So one sip and you have to hand over your car keys?

          I’ve been drinking for 20+ years. I know how much it takes to impair me, and how to tell when I’m impaired.

          • Alcohol is a sweet spot where elements of the left and the right coincide (from different angles). The right from the morality perspective (my favorite being the anti-alcohol Christians, given that one of the miracles that Jesus performed was turning water into wine) and from the left via a controlling nexus (you don’t know enough to make good decisions so we will make them for you).

          • mehoo

            “Alcohol is a sweet spot where elements of the left and the right coincide (from different angles).”

            Yeah, I’ve noticed a few of those. Porn is another – nothing funnier than radical feminists and rightwing Christians wagging their fingers in unison.

  • Ballston

    I tried to get a cab to a holiday party on Saturday before 7 pm for this exact reason, but neither Red Top or Yellow Cab felt it necessary to actually dispatch the cab to pick us up. Maybe if they provided a more reliable service, more people would use it.

    • SoCo Resident

      Ballston hits the nail on the head. Late night cab service used to be much more reliable. Can the County do anything to make certain there are an adequate number of cabs available?

  • The Pope of South Arlington

    A Cop can stop you for NO REASON AT ALL! Then get up in front of the judge and lie his ass off! Try talkin about your constitutional rights in traffic court, you got a better chance gettin off steppin in front of the judge drunk speaking spanglish.

    MADD is gang of Political Shysters riding heard on a bunch of menstruating psychopaths! This is just another way to squeeze coin outta the tax paying animals!

    “Mothers Against Drunk Driving received $2,657,293 in a single year from its Victim Impact Panel business. MADD reported on its non-profit tax form that “This revenue is earned from DWI offenders who must pay a donation to MADD” to attend a meeting in which they learn the impact that impaired driving accidents have on those who suffer as a result.

    MADD has a clear economic incentive to increase the number of DWI/DUI convictions because that increases its income from the required “donations.” MADD determines exactly how much must be donated to itself by convicted drivers in order to sit through the court-mandated meetings.”

    http://www.alcoholfacts.org/CrashCourseOnMADD.html

    • Andrew

      OF COURSE! MADD exists to increase the number of drunk drivers to justify its existence! How could we be so blind?!?!?

      Your boy David J. Hanson also thinks the drinking age should be lowered and that the benefits of drinking outweigh the harm from abuse. I’m sure he has no financial motive for any of his findings…

    • mehoo

      Grow up.

      • mehoo

        P.S. The above comment was aimed at the P. of S.A.. not Andrew.

        • The Pope of South Arlington

          Did I offend Rainbow Brite?

          • mehoo

            If laughing at idiotic, irrational stupidity is offending, then sure.

  • The Pope of South Arlington

    “OF COURSE! MADD exists to increase the number of drunk drivers to justify its existence!”

    You said that not me. Dont get it twisted skid-plate – MADD has a clear economic incentive to increase the number of DWI/DUI convictions…(catching more people driving drunk)

    How you got one from the other is for you and your special needs teacher to figure out.

    The facts on the webpage are not D J Hansons – hence the footnotes.

    • Anonymous

      If you want to post ridculousness on topic – awesome. But there isn’t any need to call people rainbow brite and skid-plate or talk about special needs teachers. Hopefully ARLNOW just bans you from making comments period since you can’t refrain from making inappropriate and offensive comments.

    • mehoo

      I have a kid with special needs.

      Grow up AND stop acting like a complete jerk.

      • The Pope of South Arlington

        And I knew this right? And you dont possess the mental faculties to recognize an ad hominem attack for argument sake? Do the afflictions and diseases in my family make me the Patron Saint of these conditions? When I attack a REAL special needs person, then you can recoil in outrage and call me a jerk, savvy?

        • mehoo

          You shouldn’t be making fun of people with special needs even when they or their parents aren’t around to hear it, genius.

          “And you dont possess the mental faculties to recognize an ad hominem attack for argument sake?”

          Um, really? Did you just say that? You realize that an ad hominem is by definition an invalid argument, right?

          “Do the afflictions and diseases in my family make me the Patron Saint of these conditions?”

          I don’t know, why don’t you name some so I can make fun of them and we’ll see.

          “When I attack a REAL special needs person, then you can recoil in outrage and call me a jerk, savvy?”

          Ah, that makes alot of sense. Insulting hypothetical people isn’t insulting real people. Why don’t you post a racist joke now?

          • The Pope of South Arlington

            “You shouldn’t be making fun of PEOPLE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS even when they or their parents aren’t around to hear it, genius.”

            ~ When I attack a REAL special needs person, then you can recoil in outrage and call me a jerk, savvy?

            Im pretty sure Andrew isn’t special needs but cant be 100% judging by the way he mangled what I said. But I am 100% sure he’s not hypothetical unless someone put LSD in my cheerios.

            Anyways…. what else cupcake?

          • mehoo

            “When I attack a REAL special needs person, then you can recoil in outrage and call me a jerk, savvy?”

            Using them as an insult IS attacking real ones, genius. By your logic, you could make all kinds of racist attacks here as long as you don’t actually use names. Use your superior brain and think this through.

  • The Pope of South Arlington

    Ok, you’re right, I’m just a big cyber bully! I’m sorry mehoo, are we still on for Peppermint Lattes at our favorite spot? XOXOXOXOX

    • mehoo

      Hey, PSA? It was funny when you were the motorcycle riding self-sufficient real man, and I obliged and pretended to be the spoiled North Arlington latte-sipping laptop-reading Mercedes-driving McMansion-living loser just to have some fun at their expense. But you took it too far, and now the joke’s over.

      • The Pope of South Arlington

        Dont get crunchy, let’s keep it Christmas. Ya hear that ARLNow, I’m making nice! 😉 No need to sensor me again.

        • KalashniKEV

          Did they hook you up to an EKG, or what?

          • The Pope of South Arlington

            Guess im special needs huh? Sensor = Censor

          • mehoo

            BTW, Pope, there are people with special needs who can spell better than you.

        • mehoo

          Don’t worry, I would never “sensor” you.

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