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- 05/29/06--20:08: _California Invites ...
- 02/26/07--09:24: _Arizona Lawsuit to ...
- 09/01/09--12:33: _New Program: Callin...
- 05/29/06--20:08: California Invites Motorists to Call In DUIs
- 02/26/07--09:24: Arizona Lawsuit to Stop Spanish DUI Program Tossed
- 09/01/09--12:33: New Program: Calling Relative after DUI Arrest
This weekend, California began installing permanent signs asking motorists to call 911 if they witnessed a drunk driver on the road.
However, many concerns have already arisen about the wisdom and safety of the DUI program, which as a practical matter requires motorists to place cell phone calls while driving in the vicinity of an impaired driver.
Pulling off the road to place the call would clearly be safer than having an impaired driver and a distracted driver sharing road space, but early anecdotal evidence suggests that it takes several minutes for police to respond to a 911 call reporting a drunk driver. The offending vehicle will likely be lost if the caller does not continue to follow.
A federal judge in Maricopa County Arizona threw out a lawsuit to abolish the county’s Spanish-language DUI courts. Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas argued that the Spanish DUI programs were unconstitutional. Thomas claimed that defendants in a Spanish-language DUI program who violate the terms of their probation consistently get shorter jail sentences than defendants in the general population. In his opinion, the Judge found that Thomas had no right (‘standing’) to bring the suit because he was not a party to any action in a DUI court.
Thomas plans to appeal the issue to the US Supreme Court if necessary. A spokesman for Thomas said that “This was a technical ruling. It’s not a decision on whether race-based courts are legal. We object to it because it creates unequal courts and that is unfair to everyone.”
The DUI “courts” in question are not courts, but actually probation programs for defendants who have already been convicted of felony DUI and have spent four months in prison. In DUI court, a judge and probation officers review the defendant’s performance in seeking treatment and complying with their probation.
The DUI courts are conducted in Spanish and English, with special provisions for Native Americans.
There are certain aspects to a night out on the town which most people consider before leaving for the festivities.
“Did I bring enough money?”
“Do I have clean underwear on?”
“Did I find a designated driver?”
All are completely legitimate questions. Now the question of “who do I call from jail when arrested for DUI?” has somewhat of an answer for those who find themselves in a watering hole in Utah between now and Sept. 7th.
The new program is designed to give callers a feeling of what it would feel like to have to make that call – giving them a sense of what their mamma will say, how their spouse will react or how their Priest will have them atone for their sins.
Sounds incredibly awkward- it’s suppose to.
Teaming up together is the Utah Highway Patrol and a group of local Utah bars in the hope of letting people practice an uncomfortable call from the local lockup.The group hopes to help dissuade drinking and driving.
After all, what is more sobering than having to call your mother, father, spouse and let them know you are in the clink for a DUI offense?
A phone number has been set up to reconstruct what it would feel like to make a call after a DUI arrest. After dialing 1-877-JAIL-FON, the caller is given the option to talk to a frantic mother or a disapproving father, among others, such as an angry spouse and even a less than enthused coach and priest. A prerecorded message then plays one end of what the conversation might sound like, with the caller filling in the other half.
Slogans associated with the campaign include “Getting a DUI is easy, calling your mom from jail is hard.”
Maybe it is a testament to the overly stimulated mind of our youth which are no longer scared straight by group visits to the morgue to see a result of a drunk driving accident, or stand face-to-face with a cell mate from Block ‘C’ who is serving life for vehicular manslaughter.
But what these local bars and the Utah Highway Patrol are banking on is that young people partying are still very scared to feel the wrath of their parents for such decisions of stupidity, and a late night partier is still extremely scared to inform their spouse of their decision to stay late and drink it up rather then make their way home.
In either case, the results should hold up as a new dynamic to the fight against drunk driving in the great state of Utah.