Thursday, April 17, 2014

DUI Dishonor Roll

Alcohol and driving don't mix

Police arrested Christine Cummings, age 23, on Saturday at 5:45 p.m. on Meadow Street in North Amherst for Driving Under the Influence with a .12% Blood Alcohol Concentration, 50% over the .08% state limit. 

Considering the time of day, on a busy weekend in Amherst (Extravaganja had attracted 6,000 to the town common) and that location near UMass where foot traffic is high, this could have been a lot worse.

Especially since Ms. Cummings first drew attention to herself by having an "extremely overloaded" vehicle. 

Police also arrested Eamon Connor, age 19, over the weekend with a BAC almost twice the state limit.  In Eastern Hampshire District Court on Monday (with his dad present) his case was continued to May 13 so he could hire an attorney.

Eamon Connor, 19


And Saturday afternoon at 2:45 p.m., right around peak moment for Extravaganja, police arrested Jeremy Lopez, 19, for DUI drugs (pot) about a mile away from town center.  

Belchertown Rd (Rt. 9) Saturday 2:50 p.m.


Dr. Ed said...

Larry -- facts matter -- put a 1.2 BAC in perspective -- back when you were her age (i.e. in the late '70's), that actually was legal because OUI was defined as a BAC over 1.5!

Saying that it is nearly twice a limit that many argue is too low is very much "Chicken Little" syndrome.

Memory is that the limit was dropped to 1.0 in 1980 and then to 0.08 in 1983 -- and while I've seen some gristly OUI wrecks, my sense is that the people in the 0.8-1.5 range really aren't the people doing this.

The really bad wrecks involve an operator way above this, or someone on something else as well (Methadone comes to mind), or something else caused the accident.

An example of the latter involved a college student who had been up for over 48 hours finishing up papers during finals week, hadn't really had a whole lot of sleep all week, but had to drive home that night because of the 24-hours-after-last-scheduled-final rule.

He made it to within sight of his house when he drifted onto the gravel shoulder and died upon colliding with circa-1940 concrete bridge railing. He'd had a few beers which probably didn't help, but the cause of this accident was him falling asleep. It also didn't help that the road was poorly marked (worn center line, no white edge lines and that the bridge was neither protected by a guardrail nor even marked with a reflector.

I don't consider this an alcohol-related fatality, nor did the investigating officer, although it is listed as such. As is another where a few tons of tree fell out of the sky.

The OUI-fatality statistics include drivers with a BAC as low as 0.01% and as I understand it, anything below 0.02% is considered medically irrelevant as it has absolutely no effect on you.

Larry, let's not get hysterical -- a 1.2 BAC is a criminal offense but it's not like a 2.1 BAC. I'm a product of the era of "scoop & run" but I still think that this is a pretty much accurate explanation of BAC levels:

1.0 = Arrested
2.0 = Drunk
3.0 = Unconscious
4.0 = Dead

Anonymous said...

Ed get your numbers right you sound like a fool.

Larry, is there any difference with a DUI for pot as opposed to alcohol? How do you think the pot case will be handled?

Anonymous said...

Anon 332: it won't. Dropped down to negligent operation or dropped altogether.

Dr. Ed said...

I think my numbers are right and if you disagree, what are yours?

if yours are different than mine, and if you can explain how you come by them, I can respect that. What I do not and can not respect is namecalling. What's next, the childish "your mother wears Army Boots" line?

Anonymous said...

"put a 1.2 BAC in per..."

it would be a .12

"oui was defined as a BAC over 1.5"

it would be .15

"Memory is that the limit was dropped to 1.0 in 1980 and then to 0.08 in 1983 -- and while I've seen some gristly OUI wrecks, my sense is that the people in the 0.8-1.5 range"

it would be .10, .08-.15 range

"a 1.2 BAC is a criminal offense but it's not like a 2.1 BAC. "

it would be .12, and .21.

"1.0 = Arrested
2.0 = Drunk
3.0 = Unconscious
4.0 = Dead"

it would be .10, .20, .30, and .40, respectively.

again, you sound like a fool. this time assertively.

if someone had a BAC of 1.0, they would be a modern marvel.

Dr. Ed said...

"put a 1.2 BAC in per..."

it would be a .12

OK, my bad, I used parts per thousand instead of parts per hundred (percent) -- I was wrong -- OK?

I put the decimal point in the "wrong" place -- my bad.

But am I not right that the BAC levels Larry listed would not have constituted OUI in the 1970's? (At least by themselves alone.)

Regardless of where the decimal point is put, and at least in terms of "Scoop & Run", is my 1/2/3/4 not more-or-less accurate, at least as to the 2/3/4 part?

Dr. Ed said...

Larry, I'm going to add this -- I'll freely admit when I am wrong, and have, but to receive the visceral I did from someone who is also wrong -- I think it's fair for me to point that out.

it would be a .12

No it wouldn't!

If you say ".12" to Judge Payne, I doubt he'd do anything more than ask you to state the number properly; outside a court proceeding, anyone would know exactly what you mean -- but you technically aren't right either.

Remember that "cent" is Latin for "hundredth", hence the "one cent" coin commonly known as the penny. When you say "percent" you are actually stating a mathematical equation.

.12% = 12/100

Note that the "%" sign looks like a fraction -- that's because it actually is one -- the denominator is 100. (These are fractions and can be handwritten in the number-over-number format as well.)

Hence -- mathematically speaking:

.12 = 12%

If you leave off the "%" symbol, you mustalso move the decimal point two places to the left. The "%" sign indicates that you already have multiplied by 100, and without the reader knowing you've already done that, the reader is going to do the same thing again.

Now a 12% BAC is so impossible that people know what you mean, but without the "%", 0.12 technically is 12%. I add the zero because technically that is also supposed to be there as well.

Furthermore, it makes a difference if you are measuring ETOH on the basis of weight or volume. The Canadians measure it by volume and that's how the same beer sold in this country has an alcohol content a couple percent higher when sold in Canada. (Canada also requires the number be printed on the container.)

It is the same amount of ETOH, the Canadians just measure it differently...

How picky do we want to be?

Or is it that I must be attacked personally because people lack the confidence (and perhaps ability) to counter my issues and arguments?

My point to Larry was that one needs to view OUI arrests and BACs in the context of the current legal limit being slightly more than half of what it once was, and hence while someone arrested today with a BAC "nearly twice" today's limit is also someone who wouldn't have been arrested at all in the 1970's.

Anonymous said...

Ed: Stop it. Anyone can google something then profess to be an expert . The reason the legal limit was dropped from a 0.15% in the glorious 70s was the fact that there is scientific evidence that shows that the vast majority of people are impaired at significantly lower BACs. I DO NOT want to hear anything about tolerance either.. if you were a "perfect" drunk the police would not or seldom encounter you.

I want you to google something else Ed, since you are an expert int he field. What is BAC and how is it expressed? Is it a volume or weight measurement? Hint: its grams of ethanol alcohol in 100ml of blood. Why is that important?

Oh yeah, wtf cares how Canada expresses BAC? This is America Jack.

Anonymous said...

hahaha Ed, way to make yourself sound like more of a fool. You weren't attacked, you were told how you look because your numbers were incorrect. When you jump from 0.08 to 1.5, obviously you mistyped it and it was nice of someone to let you that. Instead of "willingly admitting you were wrong," (of which you did not), you asserted that your numbers were correct, when they CLEARLY were not, making YOURSELF look even more like a fool (and to be clear, you did that to yourself, no one is forcing you to act like a jackass).

It was just pointed out you had the decimal wrong, and the explanation why was pretty direct (which was also correct btw, your explanation for how they were still wrong makes zero sense. also the response wasn't dragged out and went right to the point)

you took it too far. next time, don't be such a fool when someone tries to help you make a point.