Study finds more drivers killed under influence of drugs than alcohol: A recently released report finds driving under the influence of drugs has become even more of a problem than driving under the influence of alcohol.Tests were conducted on people who died as a result of a car crash and the results may surprise you. The Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibly say 43 percent of drivers with known test results who died behind the wheel, tested positive for drugs. This, compared to 38 percent who tested positive for alcohol.The reports goes on to give possible theories as to why drugged driving is on the rise. It claims some drivers may not know how drugs affect their driving. Others may not believe drugs impair how they drive.Of the drivers who tested positive for drugs, more than a third had marijuana in their system. According to the report, marijuana can increase the risk of crashing by 22 to 36 percent. It goes on to say police may have a harder time identifying those drugged drivers.CBS46 learned of a proposal to severely lessen the punishment for possessing small amounts of marijuana in Atlanta is essentially going back to the drawing board. Council members voted to send the proposal back to the public safety committee after they couldn’t agree in a measure.As the law stands now, having an ounce or less of marijuana can land you in jail for up to six months and cost you up to $1,000 in fines. The proposal would take jail time off the table and instead fine someone in possession just $75.
Car in OUI pot bust reeked even with window upHIDE CAPTION James Carvalho, 21, of Williams Street, Dighton, left, and Colby Woodward, 19, of Putters Way, Dighton were arrested by Taunton police early Tuesday morning. Police say a Dighton man busted for driving under the influence of marijuana early Tuesday morning claimed the ground rules of a field-sobriety test were stacked against him.“No way, that’s not how I stand. My generation doesn’t stand that way — we can’t do it,” Kevin James Carvalho, 21, allegedly stated — after Carvalho had trouble keeping his balance, when Taunton Patrolman Thomas Larkin said he asked him to stand with feet together and his hands by his side.Carvalho, 1541 Williams St., was charged with drug-related OUI; negligent operation of a motor vehicle; marked lanes violation; speeding; and driving with an invalid inspection sticker.His passenger, 19-year-old Colby Woodward, 1925 Putters Way, Dighton, was arrested for illegal possession of more than an ounce of marijuana and possession of a Class D substance with intent to distribute.Larkin, in his report, says Carvalho made that statement after numerous unsuccessful attempts by Carvalho to assume the position in anticipation of a field-sobriety test.Larkin says he was monitoring traffic with his cruiser’s radar at 1:30 a.m. at the intersection of Ingell, Weir and West Water streets, when Carvalho’s 2001 Hyundai Elantra sped by heading north doing 53 mph in a 30 mph posted zone.The car, Larkin said, crossed the double-yellow line “several times in a serpentine manner,” before he it pulled over near the intersection of Weir and White streets.Larkin said as he walked toward the driver’s side door he smelled “a strong, pungent odor of burnt marijuana from inside the Hyundai, even though its windows were closed.”Once Carvalho rolled the window down, Larkin says, “I immediately observed a large plume of smoke rise out.”Larkin said Carvalho was “lethargic” and his eyes were nearly shut as he looked toward the officer and said: “Whoa, what, what’s up?”As Carvalho began looking for his licence and registration, Larkin said Woodward volunteered to show the officer his own driver’s license.“I asked Colby,” who Larkin said appeared “very nervous,” to “stop talking so I could speak with the driver, but he continued to ramble on.”Larkin said he suggested to Carvalho to look inside his wallet “which was right in front of him on the center console.”Carvalho allegedly then claimed that it was Woodward who had been “smoking weed in the car.”MORE VIDEO:Happy Holidays, from us to you!“I smoked earlier, so you got nothing on me, dude. It’s all good, it’s all good,” Carvalho allegedly stated.After Woodward again offered to show his own license, Larkin said he accepted his offer.Larkin says when Woodward picked up a backpack from in between his legs he observed a large glass jar, inside of which was “a large amount of marijuana.”“It’s not mine,” Woodward allegedly said. “It’s my dad’s. I was just holding it for him. My whole family smokes weed.”Woodward, however, quickly changed his story and admitted that the pot was his.“Ok, ok, it’s mine, but it’s only for medical reasons for my PTSD. I’m trying to get a medical card,” he allegedly said.Larkin said the backpack also contained glassine baggies and a digital scale. He said there also appeared to be hundreds of little baggies strewn about the floor of the car.After refusing to submit to the field-sobriety test, Carvalho allegedly accused Larkin of “just trying to make your quota.”“Just let me drive. I’m good,” he allegedly told Larkin, who then “informed Kevin that he was not good and that he was under arrest.”Larkin said the total weight of the marijuana in the jar amounted to 1.6 ounces.Media relations officer Lt. Paul Roderick said until police are equipped with a device that can easily detect drugs in a person’s bloodstream, successful prosecution of drug-related OUI cases will remain difficult.Oftentimes, Roderick said, it amounts to “a waste of time.”Roderick, however, said that drivers operating under the influence of marijuana should keep in mind that Taunton police, especially some of the newer recruits, are taking a “proactive” approach to detecting such violations.
‘Work Out’ Alum Jackie Warner Pleads Not Guilty in Assault, DUI Case: ‘Work Out’ Alum Jackie Warner Pleads Not Guilty in Assault, DUI Case More Celebrity fitness expert Jackie Warner pleaded not guilty to DUI and assault charges on Wednesday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said. Warner, the former star of Bravo’s “Work Out,” has been charged with one felony count of assault upon a peace officer and one misdemeanor count each of driving under the influence.
Canada’s Liberal government goes ‘bold’ and ‘risky’ by legalization of marijuana: The Liberal government – as promised during the 215 election campaign – is moving ahead with legalizing recreational marijuana use for those 18 and older.It’s being called a “bold and risky social experiment” by many and would include tough laws against illicit dealers and those who break them.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said legalizing pot is the best way to keep the drug from being used by younger, impressionable children.The law change would become effective in July of next year and end the prohibition on marijuana use that Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said has been an “abject failure.”Police forces are spending billions of dollars and countless resources dealing with drug use while dealers are profiting by up to $8 billion a year, he said.Liberal politician Bill Blair, former Toronto police chief, said this will promote the “safe, socially responsible use” of marijuana while at the same time rigidly enforcing impaired driving whether by drugs or alcohol.The Conservative party called the legalization a bad idea while the socialist New Democrats wanted it sooner.
UNC fraternity, students added to lawsuit in wrong-way DWI crash Civil lawsuits claim a UNC-Chapel Hill fraternity “had a history of allowing and encouraging underage drinking and drug use” and continued to buy and provide alcohol to underage members after a wrong-way DWI wreck killed three people in 2015.Chandler Kania, a Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity member from Asheboro, was sentenced in October to 16 years in prison for three counts of involuntary manslaughter, misdemeanor reckless driving and driving while impaired in the July 19, 2015, drunk-driving crash. 1 of 3 Darlene McGeeKania was 20 and a UNC sophomore at the time of the crash.Three people – Darlene McGee, Felecia Harris King and King’s 6-year-old granddaughter, Jahnice Beard – were killed when Kania’s Jeep hit their car as he drove the wrong way on Interstate 85/40 west of Hillsborough. King’s daughter Jahniaha King, who is now 11, was seriously injured.Family members of the victims filed lawsuits in 2015 against Kania, his parents, and two bars, La Residence and He’s Not Here, accused of selling Kania alcohol before the crash. Court testimony also showed that Kania drank alcohol at an off-campus party and was smoking marijuana hours before the crash.Kania’s parents and He’s Not Here have settled their lawsuits, which were sealed by a court order until the remaining cases are resolved or a Superior Court judge orders them unsealed, according to court documents.Orange County Superior Court Judge Carl Fox granted motions March 29 to amend the lawsuits. The motions added the Delta Chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity on UNC’s campus, eight members and officers of the fraternity’s Executive Board, the fraternity’s Alumni Board, an older fraternity member who provided the driver’s license that Kania used to buy alcohol, and four UNC students who provided alcohol to Kania before the wreck.
Jamestown motorist charged with driving under influence of marijuana: State police Monday accused a Jamestown man of driving while impaired by drugs after troopers smelled marijuana coming from his car.Brandon Dailey, 23, was additionally charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle because his license was suspended, police said.Dailey was pulled over on Route 60 for a traffic violation. While speaking to Dailey, troopers smelled marijuana emanating from inside his vehicle. A marijuana smoking device was located inside the vehicle and Dailey was placed under arrest after failing several sobriety field tests. Dailey was transported to the State Police barracks in Jamestown where he was evaluated by a Chautauqua County drug recognition expert who determined that Dailey was under the influence of marijuana, as well as an unspecified central nervous system depressant.Dailey was issued tickets, released and scheduled to appear in April in Ellicott Town Court.
Sterling man charged with DUI, possession of controlled substance: A Sterling man was arrested Saturday morning after running his car into a gully and trying to walk away from the scene.Binyam Yilma, 27, of Sterling, was located by Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office deputies near Cascades Parkway and Potomac View Road around 2:30 a.m. Saturday. Yilma was arrested and charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance, driving under the influence, refusal of a breath test and driving on a suspended or revoked license.
The problem with America’s marijuana DUI laws: scienceEVERYONE CAN AGREE THAT DRIVING WHILE STONED IS DANGEROUS, BUT HOW DO STATES REMEDY THE FLAWED SCIENCE BEHIND MARIJUANA DRUG TESTS? You have people that are just baked’ Singh rolled a “fat blunt” before he hit the slopes at Lake Tahoe on a sunny Wednesday morning.By the end of the day, he needed a refill, so he drove to Reno and stopped at one of the local medical marijuana dispensaries. With his Patagonia jacket and bleached-blond man-bun, Singh was eager to head to his hotel and smoke.The only reason he wouldn’t be smoking while driving to the hotel was because he believes Nevada cops are stricter than the ones in the Bay Area.“Yeah, I roll my blunts while I’m driving. I smoke while I’m driving,” said Singh, 26, who owns a logistics business and a “party bus” in Oakland, Calif. “I don’t get high after two blunts. I just get tired and lazy.”With the passage of recreational marijuana in November, Nevada is grappling with questions of how to handle the issue of driving while stoned. And while driving high is still illegal, determining what exactly constitutes “high” is not as easy as it sounds.Just how much pot is an ounce? Watch our explainer:CLOSESince Nevada legalized recreational marijuana, anyone 21 and over can possess up to 1 ounce in-state. How many people actually could look at an ounce and identify it, though? We’re here to help educate you.Jenny Kane/RGJAmong states with legal recreational marijuana, Nevada has the strictest limit on how much of the chemical THC can be in the bloodstream — the weed equivalent of blood-alcohol content — before the driver is considered impaired. Nevada’s limit is even lower than the federal standard for Department of Transportation employees.But catching drugged drivers has become more complicated since recreational marijuana became legal in January across the state.No real-time, accurate test exists. Officers have no accurate Breathalyzer test; blood, urine and saliva tests exist but are imperfect.On top of that, no scientific evidence backs up that a specific amount of marijuana in a person’s system means impairment. That means that limits for marijuana similar to those for alcohol use can be problematic.“You have people that are just baked, they have that Spicoli persona and yet they ace the driving test. You have others who are totally sober and they flunk that blood test,” said Chris Halsor, a former Colorado prosecutor currently serving as Nevada’s temporary traffic safety resource prosecutor.Nevada law says that anyone with 2 nanograms of marijuana in their system while driving is impaired.Critics of the limit point out that it’s so low that people who have smoked marijuana in the distant past but are not impaired could be convicted of DUI under the current law.However, advocates of the limit point out that driving under the influence cases involving marijuana are already difficult to prove and a limit is necessary.Despite the inconsistencies, states must adapt, Halsor said. It’s an issue every state that legalizes marijuana faces, finding varying solutions.“You have to go into every case being able to prove impairment without toxicology,” Halsor said.A legal puzzleThe question of marijuana DUIs has been at the forefront of bipartisan discussions among lawmakers since Nevadans voted in November to legalize recreational marijuana. Anyone 21 and over can possess up to 1 ounce of recreational marijuana, even though it remains a federal offense.Medical marijuana has been legal in Nevada since 2000, and recreational marijuana officially became legal as of Jan. 1, though it is still a misdemeanor to drive under the influence of marijuana and can be a felony depending on circumstances.Just as Nevada has a .08 blood alcohol limit, the state also has a 2 nanograms per milliliter of blood limit for marijuana. Colorado and Washington’s limit is 5 nanograms.Most states and Washington, D.C., that have legalized recreational marijuana — California, Oregon, Massachusetts, Maine, and Alaska — have no set limit. States without set limits also establish that impaired driving is illegal and can be proven by a defendant’s behavior and statements at the time of arrest.“States are trying to figure out what is a fair nanogram limit – what should they use for guidance, and should we have a nanogram limit? Neither is good, right? I don’t think it’s appropriate to institute a rule that doesn’t work. I don’t understand the point of having a limit if that doesn’t tell you what you need to know,” said Dr. Ryan Vandrey, associate professor of behavioral pharmacology research at Johns Hopkins University Medical School in Baltimore. “If you are going to punish people for not being under the influence of a drug that you just legalized, that’s not fair. You can’t take corrective action.”While it would seem logical to model drugged driving laws after existing
Police are using new mouth-swab tests to nab drivers under the influence of marijuana and other drugs. Drivers on pot could be detected with new device. San Diego police have a new way to confirm the presence of marijuana and other drugs in impaired drivers — a mouth-swab device that is already being used by police departments in more than a dozen states and is expected to become more popular with the legalization of marijuana.The two Dräger DrugTest 5000 machines, which cost about $6,000 each, were donated by the San Diego Police Foundation last week.ADVERTISINGThey are expected to debut Friday night at the St. Patrick’s Day DUI checkpoint in downtown San Diego.The machine, about the size of a mini bookshelf stereo system, tests for the presence of seven drugs — marijuana, cocaine, opiates, methamphetamine, amphetamine, methadone and benzodiazepines. The device does not read the level of intoxication; drivers would have to take a blood test for that information.Paid Post WHAT’S THIS? Best Casual RestaurantsA Message from The Daily MealThese restaurants may not be temples of gastronomy, but they sure offer some mighty good food.See More“It’s a huge concern of ours with the legalization of marijuana that we’re going to see an increase in impaired drugged driving,” Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said at a news conference Thursday near the Ingraham Street Bridge in Mission Bay, a common DUI checkpoint spot.California voters approved the use and cultivation of recreational marijuana by passing Proposition 64 in November.To prepare for the effects of the law, a team of San Diego narcotics officers went to Denver to learn how Colorado has fared since recreational marijuana was legalized there and found that the region has seen an uptick in drugged driving, Zimmerman said. The numbers have been growing in California as well.In 2014, 38% of drivers who were killed in motor vehicle crashes in California tested positive for drugs, whether legal or illegal, according to the state Office of Highway Safety. That’s up from 32% the year before.“We want to get these impaired drivers off the streets,” the chief said.The Dräger 5000 premiered in the U.S. in 2009 and is used by police in places such as Los Angeles, New York, Arizona and Nevada, as well as in other countries such as Australia, Belgium and Germany.In San Diego, the machines will be used primarily at DUI checkpoints for now.Like the handheld preliminary alcohol screening devices frequently used in the field to test for booze, drivers cannot be forced to submit to a Dräger 5000 test.Officers trained to recognize the symptoms of drug impairment will first look for various indicators that a driver is high, such as an unsafe driving maneuver, bloodshot eyes, the odor of marijuana and blank stares, San Diego police Officer Emilio Ramirez said. Once there is ample suspicion of drug use, the officer can then request to perform field sobriety tests or for a driver to take the Dräger 5000 test.If the driver refuses at that point, the officer can force the person to submit to a blood test.To use the machine, the driver is handed a mouth swab and instructed to run it around the inside of the mouth for up to four minutes. The swab is then placed into the machine, along with a vial of testing solution, and the machine does its work. It takes about six to eight minutes for results to print out.A positive result will likely send the driver to a police phlebotomist for a blood test to determine precise drug levels.If the mouth swab test is negative but the officer still has a suspicion of impairment, then a blood draw might still be mandated, because the Dräger 5000 measures for only seven kinds of narcotics, Ramirez said.When it comes to detecting marijuana, the machine only looks for the active THC compound that is responsible for the high. That component, delta-9 THC, can stay in a person’s system for a few hours or longer, depending on how the cannabis was ingested and how the person’s body processes the drug. The machine does not look for the inactive THC compounds, which can stay in a person’s system for weeks, police said.In other words, if someone legally smoked marijuana two days ago, there would be nothing to worry about if tested on the machine.Evidence from the Dräger 5000 will be admissible in court, although the machine is not expected to have a notable effect on how drugged driving cases are prosecuted, attorneys said.Under California law, there is no legal threshold for the amount of drugs in a person’s system when it comes to driving. Alcohol cases are more black and white — a .08% blood-alcohol level or higher is illegal.Officers and prosecutors have instead had to rely on subjective measures and observations to build a case of drug impairment, which can be different from person to person.
Driver accused of smoking pot before taking bus full of students on field trip: CHELMSFORD, MA (WHDH) – A bus driver has been arrested on several charges after police said he operated a school bus while under the influence of drugs.School administrators called officers Tuesday after high school students reported a strange odor on a bus they were boarding for a field trip, Chelmsford police said. A teacher notified a principal, who reportedly smelled marijuana after boarding the bus.Police said about 50 Students were taken off the bus and officers determined that the bus driver, 63-year-old Ali Mahfuz, of Nashua, New Hampshire, was under the influence of marijuana.Mahfuz was charged with operating under the influence, negligent operation, and reckless endangerment.Mahfuz told 7News that the students would have been in danger if he had driven the school bus. Police said he had just finished a route for Greater Lowell Technical High School before arriving in Chelmsford.Police officials said that they were “astonished” by Mahfuz’s “lack of common sense” and poor decision making.The bus driver that employs Mahfuz , North Reading Transportation, Inc., is cooperating with authorities.A new bus driver was sent to the school to take the students on the field trip.Mahfuz was arraigned Tuesday afternoon in Lowell District Court. Prosecutors say Mahfuz admitted to smoking marijuana.He was released on personal recognizance.
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