Tuesday, November 20, 2012

DUI Dishonor Role

 Drunk drivers also pose a threat to our first responders

One of the more chilling lines buried in a 40 some odd page police log has an almost air of routine to it, perhaps because it was the wee hours of Sunday morning (1:40 AM) on well traveled Rt 9, which is of course what I find so chilling:

"While on a traffic stop, vehicle almost struck me."  The laconic officer pursued the offending vehicle, pulled it over and administered a SFST (Standard Field Sobriety Test) to the driver.  He failed. 

Arrested for DUI and Marked Lanes Violation:

Jacob Bell, 350 Ridge Rd, Athol, MA, age 23


Anonymous said...

Alcohol should be illegal for persons affiliated with a school or members of a school.

I got an email from Williston yesterday about a party at a local bar where Williston would buy the first pitchers of beer! School-sponsored alcohol consumption is nonsense and I won't have it.

I emailed them right back and told them so.

I didn't get a response.

Anonymous said...

What a near tragedy on such a busy road.

Dr. Ed said...

I would like someone to explain to officers that the reason why you ALSO want to turn on both the taillights and 4-way flashers at night is that strobe lights alone (or instant on/off LED light bars) make it almost impossible for the human in a moving vehicle to tell exactly where the cruiser is relative to them, particularly if one isn't approaching in a straight line (e.g. on a curve).

Also, the dual outer/inner flash pattern is psychologically similar to airport landing lights -- it attracts the human eye to the center instead of directing it away -- the same thing that puts the pilot on the center of the runway puts the drunk into the back end of the police cruiser. It doesn't help that the wavelength of blue LED light is just shorter than what the human eye is most sensitive to, either. (And with the LEDs, it is exactly one wavelength, which the human eye also has trouble with...)

Yes, we would like the officers to catch the drunk drivers. We would prefer it, though, if they didn't do it by having them collide with their cruisers, which -- in the case of the Crown Vic/Interceptor -- have a bad habit of exploding (Ford Pinto-isque) when hit from behind.

Anonymous said...

are you saying if a cruiser puts his lights on you cant see it?

Anonymous said...

@anon 9:32am

#1 UMass doesn't promote or spend money paying for alcohol at bars.

#2 Being affiliated with a school is a stupid reason to ban alcohol. It would just make things significantly worse. And, the majority of the worst drunks on UMass are underclassman that are already drinking illegally due to age.

#3 Oxford, Cambridge, and many of best universities in the world have pubs built into the campuses, and by doing this it keeps the party on the campus, and away from the city residents, and keeps the students off the road.
Other thoughts:
#4 The problem with drinking isn't just a UMass problem. It's a 5 college problem. UMass gets the most attention, because population of the 4 other colleges put together is still less then 1/3 of UMass, and everybody knows that the students of Smith/Mnt. Holyoke college attend parties at UMass, because 98% of there student body lives on campus by graduation requirements. Which makes the numbers look even worse for UMass.

#5 Drunk driving is a serious problem, and it should be treated seriously. People talk so much about "Legal limits", etc. But, its much more simple then that. Cops don't pull people over randomly. If a driver is swerving around they are endangering other drivers regardless of what they claim they drank. Drunk driving is a common sense thing. If you drink, or plan to drink. Don't drive.

#6 More people die in drunk driver accidents than of most types of cancer.

Anonymous said...

There Ed again, blaming the victims!

Dr Ed said...

are you saying if a cruiser puts his lights on you cant see it?

First, cruiser's are inanimate, it is a human being that flips the switches.

But what I am saying is that if a bright light flashes briefly at night, particularly if it is instant on/off and not the waxing/waning of an incandescent lamp, it is very difficult for the human in a *moving* vehicle to tell exactly where the cruiser is.

Why? The exact same reason why TV and movie images appear to be moving when they actually are multiple still images flashed very fast.

My point is not seeing the cruiser but seeing it relative to the traffic pattern, the officer outside of it (who may be directing traffic around a wreck), and quickly accertaining exactly where the cruiser *is* if the road is not straight.

We have no more (arguably less) drunks on the road than we did in the 1970s, yet we have a lot more police cars getting run into. Doesn't that at least raise a suspicion that the change from the "gumball machine" style lights to the strobes might have had a undesired effect?

Dr Benway said...

Actually, Ed's right on this one. They need to ditch those strobes. It is a simple thing to fix.
I guess after enough cruisers get rammed and cops get hurt or killed, they'll figure it out.

Anonymous said...

Try this on for size: YOU see flashing lights that you KNOW or OUGHT TO KNOW belong to an emmergency vehilce (cop, ambulance, fire truck, roadside assistance vehicle), then YOU slow down until you can procede safely. If YOUR lane is obstruced by the vehicle YOU WAIT until the way is clear or you are DIRECTED to move.

Its more of a society question..too damn impaitient to wait. If "bubble" lights were effective they still would be in use. Problem is, you can't see them very well in the day or during poor weather conditions. They also take considerable more power to run then LED lights (which require very little power). Emergency vehicles work in ALL 24 hours of the day and in ALL weather conditions. They need the cheapest most effective and efficeint lighting systems possible. LED stobes are the answer.

Can't have your cake....

Anonymous said...

Fire trucks and other emergency vehicles don't get hit as much... and they have the same damn lights. Its called "rubber-necking". Ever wonder why traffic is backed up for miles on a divided highway for an incident that happened on the other side of the divider? Curiosity... drawn to it like moths to a flame