Dehydrated Driving just as Dangerous as Drunk Driving?

To say that Southern California has been going through some recent hot temperatures is an understatement. It is a full-blown heatwave. If you’re anything like me, you’re sweating out more water than you’re taking in. If that is the case, you could be just as much of a danger to the roads as drunk drivers.  

Believe it or not, at least one study suggests this.

It goes without saying that hot weather causes us to feel lethargic. That lethargic feeling is our bodies telling us that we’re dehydrated and that, according to researchers, is what makes driving while dehydrated so dangerous.

In 2015, researchers at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom tested the driving skills of participants who were significantly dehydrated and slightly dehydrated. The participants consumed 85 ounces of fluid throughout the previous day, 16 ounces of water the morning of the test, and a mere 25 percent of that right before the study.

"The actual level of dehydration we produced in these men was very mild," says lead study author Phil Watson, PhD. "We wanted to simulate real-world conditions, such as when you’ve had a particularly busy day and were unable to take breaks for drinks."

According to the researchers, drivers why were dehydrated were twice as likely to make mistakes while driving. This result is similar to that when drivers drove while under the influence of alcohol. In fact, according to Watson, the results were similar to driving studies where participants had consumed 2.5 ounces of vodka.

Not only should you avoid driving drunk, but with the current weather conditions that we are experiencing here in Southern California, we also need to make sure that we hydrate before getting behind the wheel.

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Santa Ana Man Sentenced After Fiery DUI Crash

 23 year-old Leonardo Morales from Santa Ana, was recently sentenced to seven years in prison for a drunk driving incident that left his car engulfed in flames and his two children with bodily injuries. Morales pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol and causing injury, driving with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit, and two counts of child abuse and endangerment. He also pleaded guilty to driving with a suspended license.

On April 13th, 2015 at 3:00 AM, Morales hit a tree on the off-ramp of the Costa Mesa Freeway. At the time of the accident Morales, was driving with girlfriend Kathy De Rosa and two infants.

When the two officers arrived at the scene, they found Montoya lying on the ground, the 2 year-old running around crying and pointing at the car, the 9-month old crying in the back seat, and De Rosa stuck in the passenger seat. The CHP officers quickly took the 9-month old baby and De Rosa out of the car, which at this point had caught on fire. All of the passengers sustained non-life-threatening body injuries and were taken to a local hospital for evaluation.

This isn’t the first time that the pair had been in a run in with the police. Morales and De Rosa were both arrested in 2014 for drunk driving, driving on a suspended license, and resisting arrest. In 2015, De Rosa had already been arrested for drunk driving and child endangerment.

They say that the third time is the charm. Hopefully this pair of individuals learned the consequences of driving while intoxicated. Not only did they both get injured, but they endangered their innocent children. The lesson to be learned here is don’t drink and drive, especially when you have children aboard.

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California MIT Student Killed by Drunk Driving NYPD Cop

This past weekend, an off-duty New York Police Department officer plowed his SUV into four pedestrians, killing one and leaving the other three in critical condition. It was later determined that the NYPD officer was driving under the influence.

Officer Nicholas Batka, 28, of the Manhattan Transit Task Force was out drinking with Officers Jeremy Rodriguez and Emmanuel Collado this past weekend. Shortly after 3 a.m. on Saturday morning, Batka lost control of his vehicle which jumped a curb and collided with two women and two men who were walking along the sidewalk in Williamsburg, a suburb of Brooklyn.

Andrew Esquivel, 21, from Healdsburg, California, died a short time later from his injuries. Esquivel was one year away from graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Recent MIT alumnus James Balchunas, MIT student Sophia Tabhouri, and an NYU student were taken to hospitals.

Witnesses to the accident said that Batka flashed his badge and tried to flee the scene through the passenger-side door. Bystanders, however, blocked the door from opening.

Batka was allegedly supposed to report to work at 7 a.m., only about four hours after the incident.

Responding officers noticed the objective signs of intoxication. According to police, Batka refused a breathalyzer.

Batka faces charges of second-degree manslaughter, second-degree vehicular manslaughter, second-degree assault, second-degree vehicular assault and multiple counts of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He has been released on $300,000 bail.

Batka’s drinking buddies, Officer Rodriguez and Officer Collado have had their badges and guns taken away “for the good of the department,” according to a police source.

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Four Times the Legal Limit and Higher

A New York man was recently stopped for driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content of four times the legal limit.

Dennis L. Knapp was stopped when a person called 911 to report a “sick or intoxicated driver.”

Following the stop, Knapp was taken to the police station where he took a breath test that revealed a blood alcohol content of 0.32 percent, four times the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Knapp was charged with felony aggravated driving while intoxicated and consuming alcohol in a motor vehicle and other traffic charges.

Knapp’s arrest and blood alcohol content got me wondering what some of the highest blood alcohol contents ever recorded were.

In 2012, an Iowa resident by the name of Justin A. Clark was arrested for driving under the influence and it was later determined that his blood alcohol content was 0.627 percent.

In 2007, Deana F. Jarrett of Washington was arrested for DUI after she crashed her vehicle into two parked cars. It was later determined that her blood alcohol content was 0.47 percent. At the time, it was the highest blood alcohol content in Washington’s history.

In 2008, Stanley Kobierowski of Rhode Island pled no contest to driving under the influence when he drove into a highway message board and it was later determined that his blood alcohol content was 0.49 percent. Local Police said that it was the highest BAC level for someone who was not dead.

Marguerite Engle of South Dakota stole a delivery truck and went on a joyride in 2009. When she was arrested, a breathalyzer revealed a blood alcohol content of 0.70 percent, breaking the previous South Dakota record of .56 percent.

The cake, however, goes to an Oregon woman by the name of Terri Comer. In 2007 Comer was arrested when she was found unconscious in her vehicle which she had driven into a snow bank. After being transported to the hospital, it was determined that Comer’s blood alcohol content to a whopping 0.72 percent.

In a California DUI prosecution, penalties generally increase when a person’s blood alcohol content is above a 0.15 percent. And it is generally accepted that the lethal blood alcohol content level for humans is between a 0.4 and 0.6 percent.

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New Law may Require Anti-DUI Training for Alcohol Servers


Late last month the Senate Governmental Organization Committee voted 10-0 to approve legislation that would require all servers of alcoholic beverages in California to undergo training aimed at preventing drunk driving.

Drafted by California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), Assembly Bill 2121 would require all restaurant and bar employees who sell alcohol or serve alcohol in California to participate in mandatory training on preventing patrons from driving drunk. Eighteen other states and the District of Columbia have required mandatory training on DUI-prevention.

 Currently the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) provides a free and voluntary program in California. While some local governments have made training mandatory, there is no requirement that training be mandatory throughout California.

“Innocent people are put at risk every day when drunk people get behind the wheel, and preventable tragedies rip apart families and communities while we wait to act,” said Gonzalez. “Preparing our servers to effectively intervene before reckless behavior destroys lives adds an easy line of defense to keep our communities safe.”

AB 2121 is coauthored by Assembly member Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) and Senator Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), sponsored by the California Medical Association, and supported by health and public safety organizations including the California Police Chiefs Association, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, American Academy of Pediatrics, California, County Health Executives Association of California, Alcohol Justice and the San Diego Police Officers Association. It will next be considered in the Senate Appropriations Committee.



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