A 30-year-old man in Gig Harbor kept sheriff's deputies busy on Aug. 30. In one day, the Pierce County Sheriff's Department arrested him twice. His day began with a traffic stop after a deputy observed him driving away from a squatter home on 115th Street in the Key Peninsula. The deputy reported that the man smelled of intoxicants and asked him to get out of the truck.
Washington residents may remember the that Tiger Woods was found driving under the influence. According to a toxicology report conducted by the Palm Beach County police, he had five different drugs in his system when authorities took him into custody on May 29. At that time, police say that he appeared confused and did poorly on field sobriety tests.
Within seven years, the number of pot-influenced drivers throughout Washington and the rest of the U.S. rose by 50 percent. This is based on information from the 2013-2014 National Roadside Survey of Alcohol & Drug Use by Drivers. The survey also found that from 1973 to 2014, the number of drivers who tested positive for alcohol decreased by 77 percent.
While driving under the influence of THC is illegal even in states like Washington that allow the use of marijuana for recreational purposes, there is currently no reliable way for police officers to determine whether or not a motorist is impaired by the metabolite. The results of roadside breath tests and standardized field sobriety tests are generally reliable because alcohol affects the human body in very predictable ways, and blood alcohol levels can be scientifically linked to degrees of impairment in casual as well as heavy drinkers. However, traces of THC linger in the blood for days or weeks after marijuana has been consumed, and habitual users can develop high tolerances to the drug.
A conviction on DUI charges can carry heavy penalties, even for first-time offenders and famous drivers who run into difficulties on the road. Seattle pro basketball fans might remember Derek Fisher, the former coach of the New York Knicks. He is now facing charges of driving under the influence following an early June auto accident. Fisher and his passenger were driving on U.S. Route 101 through the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles when his car hit the concrete curb area of the shoulder and then collided with the guardrail. After the collision, the car overturned and rested on its roof. No one was injured in the accident, although the flipped car blocked two lanes of highway traffic.
The police in Bremerton discovered a man passed out behind the wheel of a running vehicle parked in the entrance to the department's employee parking lot on June 22. A police lieutenant said the man immediately hit the gas when officers roused him. Attempting to escape, he smashed through a metal security gate.
Football fans in Washington and around the country will likely remember Lawrence Taylor best for the way he dominated defenses in the 1980s and redefined the middle linebacker position, but they may also be aware that the NFL Hall of Famer has had more than his fair share of off-the-field problems. A New York judge ordered six years of probation after the former New York Giant admitted to sexual misconduct and using the services of a prostitute in 2011, and Taylor was sentenced to a further year of probation on June 19 after pleading guilty to a drunk driving charge in Florida.
Although Tiger Woods has not competed since the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in early 2017, Seattle golf fans saw him hit the headlines again when law enforcement authorities in Florida arrested him on suspicion of driving under the influence. Woods released a public statement concerning the incident. He said that a mix of prescription medications caused his apparent intoxication.
Washington residents may have heard that the daughter of David Hasselhoff was found passed out behind the wheel of her vehicle by police. Authorities say that her car had come to a complete stop at a California freeway off-ramp when witnesses called them for help at about 4 a.m. on May 13. When police made contact with the woman, they found that she was asleep with her foot on the brake pedal.
Drunk driving was a factor in almost one-third of all of the motor vehicle crash fatalities in the United States in 2014. According to researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, state laws that require the use of ignition interlocks for all individuals who have been convicted of a drunk driving offense may decrease the number of deadly drunk driving crashes. Washington is one of those mandatory states.