Monitech

Category: News

Texting-While-Driving-NCPolice have had many years to learn how to catch drunk drivers. There are many signs of impaired driving, as well as breathalyzers and field tests to confirm the offense once the driver is stopped. We even have good technology – ignition interlocks – to prevent drunk drivers from starting their car.

Texting while driving, though widespread, is a recent phenomenon, and police must now develop ways to identify and catch distracted drivers. Some of the same warning signs can be useful – if a driver is too slow, or erratic, for example. But something more is needed.

The Randolph County office of the North Carolina Highway Patrol came up with something more. They sent out NCDOT pickup trucks with plainclothes officers in them to watch for texting drivers. When they spotted one, they contacted troopers in nearby unmarked vehicles to issue a ticket.

Texting while driving is illegal in North Carolina. Offenders face fines and court costs.

Like other states, North Carolina is just beginning to come to terms with the menace of distracted driving. This program has promise, since the pickup trucks blend in and catch texting and phoning drivers off their guard. Until automotive technology catches up, and we adopt an “ignition interlock” that prevents people from using their phones while driving, Randolph County drivers are on notice: that yellow pickup truck might get them picked up if they make the bad decision to text and drive.

13 years old and drinking alcohol? It might sound shocking for some of us, but that’s what’s happening every day across the United States. But these minors are too young to purchase alcohol on their own, so where are they getting it?

If a Davidson County couple is any indication, minors are receiving alcohol from their parents. They’ve been charged with 7-counts of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor after they were found providing alcohol to minors as young as 13-years-old at their home.

The couple has broken several laws in North Carolina, and the first was the zero tolerance policy for underage drinking. The zero tolerance policy states that anyone who allows minors to drink or assists them in drinking will be prosecuted in criminal and possibly civil court.

The couple could also be liable under social host laws. The law states that if you are a social host of any kind, including bar owners, restaurant servers, and even those who just host a party, you have a responsibility to those you are serving. That means if someone decides to drink and drive and causes a crash, you could be liable for their actions because you served them alcohol in the first place.

Although social host laws are supposed to apply to adults, they may apply to those who serve minors as well. In the case of the Davidson County couple, it was fortunate that no one was injured or killed after the party due to binge drinking or drinking and driving.

Parents need to think about legal responsibility if they decide to provide alcohol to a minor, but they should also be questioning why they feel it’s OK for a minor to drink in the first place. Studies have shown teens that starting drinking young are more likely to have a problem with alcohol as they grow older, and they’re at an increased risk for death, injury, and sexual assault. Instead of giving them alcohol at a party, responsible parents should be standing at the door with a breathalyzer ensuring no one has drank before driving.

There’s a lesson in this story for all parents – you might want to look cool by providing alcohol to your child or your child’s friends, but it’s a bad idea all around. Think about the legal consequences for yourself and the potential outcome for your child, and then make the right choice and work to help them avoid underage drinking.

Today’s post comes to us from fellow ignition interlock provider, LifeSafer. Apparently, men across the world have been getting pulled over for drunk driving any number of weird “vehicles” lately. We’ll let LifeSafer take it away from here.


 

Here’s the rule: if it has wheels, someone will have too many drinks and then take off on it. The results are not always as funny as the newspaper headlines suggest.

We’ve covered some unusual DUI arrests in the past, most notably a snowmobile in summer.

DUIs on tractors are standard in some parts of the country. The reason might be that tractor owners don’t consider their tractor a motor vehicle, but rather a farm implement (not that those should be used while impaired either).

The tractor’s little sister, the riding mower, also seems to draw pilots who have had a few too many. In fact, Pulaski County, Kentucky saw two lawnmower DUIs in one week recently.

In Virginia a man on a moped – that’s right, a moped – led the police on a chase.

Approaching the heights of absurdity, a man in Australia (the unusual vehicle DUIs invariably involve men, for whatever reason) was arrested for driving a motorized beer cooler drunk. One needs to question not only the driver’s judgement, but the reason for the vehicle’s existence in the first place.

And then there is the vehicle that is itself a punchline, the Segway. Norway finally legalized the two-wheel scooters, and had immediate reason to regret it.

If there is a lesson to be learned from all this, it’s that if you’re farming, or mowing, or moping, or scooting, don’t drink.

Your Hump Day Recess: Every Wednesday LifeSafer brings you something a little different, related to the worlds of road safety, to ease your progress over Hump Day and through the week.

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