A US district court judge ruled Tuesday that James B. Ferrari had a point when he sued Suffolk County, New York over its seizure of his 2003 Ferrari 360 Spider. Ferrari was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) in the city of Bellport on May 26, 2009. That gave county officials an excuse to grab a car that sold for $190,000 when new.
“Ferrari is not the most sympathetic plaintiff, to put it mildly,” Judge Joanna Seybert wrote, overruling the county’s motion to dismiss the case. “But the Due Process clause protects everyone — even repeated drunk drivers. Here, Ferrari has adequately pled that Suffolk County violated his due process rights.”
Though I’m generally too much of a libertarian to be a huge fan of the work of the neo-prohibitionists at Mothers Against Drunk Driving, this in-car breathalyzing technology is definitely the kind of active-safety mandate I can get behind. After all, the social debate over the the effects of and responsibility for drunk driving has taken place, and despite heavy penalties against it, drunk driving still kills too many people. Unfortunately, since this technology won’t be usable for another ten years, we’re all going to have to live with the risk of drunk drivers for quite a bit longer… and by the time this hits the streets, you had better believe that distracted driving will be a far more relevant risk factor. After all, if the current state of debate over distracted driving were compared to the drunk driving debate, the automakers would still be arguing that in-car kegerators help keep the danger out of in-car drinking… and the government would be working to set voluntary safety standards for those kegerators.
The moral of the story: by the time we recognize societal safety problems as real problems, we are already halfway to solving them… and the final 50 percent of the problem can take years afterwords to solve.
Being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) can cost a motorist thousands of dollars in court fines, insurance costs and attorneys’ fees. At least 79 accused drivers were notified last Friday that the police officer that charged them with drunk driving had likely falsified at least one piece of evidence. Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully threw out the cases after an investigation into the conduct of Sacramento Police Officer Brandon Mullock, 24.
The New Mexico Supreme Court on Thursday expanded the ability of police to jail suspects for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) by allowing arrests to be made solely based on third-party tips. The ruling was handed down two weeks after the same court had relaxed DUI arrest rules so that motorists sleeping off a night of drinking in their automobiles would not be hit with the same penalty as if they had driven away (read decision).
The Oregon Court of Appeals earlier this month threw out a commonly performed roadside sobriety test as unscientific. A divided three-judge panel found the accuracy of vertical gaze nystagmus in establishing drunkenness remained unproven in the eyes of the court.
Motorist Paul Miller filed a federal lawsuit against Sanilac County, Michigan sheriff’s department after he was accused of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) despite being completely sober. The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit earlier this month ruled that his case should be tried by a jury.
It has been almost three years since a young Saint Louis, Missouri motorist drew national attention by videotaping an out-of-control police officer’s profanity-laced tirade during a traffic stop (view video). St. George Police Sergeant James Kuehnlein was fired because of the bad publicity generated by the incident captured by the taping system that Brett Darrow, 23, installed in his 1997 Nissan Maxima. On Saturday, St. Louis County Police stopped Darrow once again.
Around the world, drunk driving is a deadly problem without an easy solution. After all, the link between driving under the influence and generally screwing up your life (and the lives of others) has been conclusively proven, and yet the problem continues. What to do? Volvo’s answer: buy a Volvo and spend €850 (plus up to €90 for installation) on “Alcoguard,” a dealer-installed optional breathalyzer ignition interlock. With this system in place, drivers must blow into an interlock, proving that they are beneath the legal blood-alcohol-content limit before the vehicle will start.
Police can pull over a car that has committed no traffic violation based solely on vague accusations made in a 911 call, the Utah Supreme Court ruled Friday. The court considered the case of Jose Baltarcar Roybal whose live-in girlfriend, Annalee McCaine, called 911 after the pair had a fight August 8, 2005.