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Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft have sailed in like a white horse, ready to save us all from the scourge of drunk driving injuries and deaths. At least, that’s the narrative these services are selling. Proof that it’s actually working, however, is conflicting. phone

Take, for example, the recent study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests these serves have had little to on impact on the national overall rate of drunk driving accidents, injuries or deaths. Drunk driving fatalities have hung steadily at around 10,000 for many years, though they have dipped significantly since the 1970s and 1980s.

Uber broke out onto the scene in 2009 and has largely been popular in bigger cities, such as Boston. But unfortunately, as the study authors discovered, the rates of drunk driving in those locations hasn’t gone down. The reason, researchers say, has to do with the fact those who are impaired aren’t willing to pay for the expense of a ride.  Continue reading

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Deputy John Robert Kotfila Jr. had just received a 911 call about a wrong-way driver on a stretch of Florida highway. It was nearly 3 a.m. on a Saturday. He had just left a traffic crash investigation and spotted the vehicle, traveling east in the westbound lanes. highway9

Another vehicle was ahead of the deputy. The wrong-way driver wasn’t slowing. The 30-year-old deputy took quick action to get in front of the other vehicle and got her to slow down and move to the side of the road. The deputy and the wrong-way driver hit head-on. The 31-year-old wrong-way driver, who was drunk, died at the scene. The officer was pronounced dead at the hospital. The 41-year-old woman in the vehicle behind the deputy is convinced he took the action he did to save her life.

It was later revealed the wrong-way driver had been drunk.

Now, Kotfila’s family is fighting for change in Massachusetts, his home state. Kotfila was originally from Falmouth. He worked as a crash investigator for the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office in south Florida at the time o the crash. His family gathered recently at the Massachusetts State House to press state lawmakers to pass a drunk driving law that would require in-vehicle breathalyzers for first-time DUI offenders in the Commonwealth. Continue reading

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After work, many people like to head to the bar on the way home to have a drink or two with friends.  While you can do this in Boston, or across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you aren’t going to find any drink specials or other discounts like you do in other parts of the country due to a roughly 30-year-old law prohibiting bars and restaurants from offering happy hour specials.

red-bull-boat-359586-mThe reason for this law, one that a number of other states also enacted, was to cut down on the number of drunk driving accidents that had reached alarming rates.  It was fairly easy to connect people getting discount drinks before their drive home with the number of drunk driving accidents, some of which are fatal or result in serious personal injury. Continue reading

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Most people who live in an urban area such as Boston would probably say they live in the city with the worst drivers in America.  If you lived in Boston and gave that answer, you would be correct, according to a recent news feature from Yahoo Finance. The claim is based upon report put out every year by the insurance industry, and it includes the number of accidents and the number of drunk driving accidents in proportion to the population and the number of drivers.

The report, which is compiled by the insurance industry, is supposed to showcase the safest cities to drive in America, and while there any many cities at the top of the list, one city has to be at the bottom for being the most dangerous and in 2016, that “honor” falls on the city of Boston. beerhand Continue reading

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Revere, Massachusetts, located a few miles from Boston on the other side of the Mystic River, has been undergoing a great deal of construction for a long time.  A community that prides itself on having the first public beach in the United States, has, like a lot of the greater Boston area, allowed its roads to fall into a state of disrepair.

wrong-way-sign-232552-mWhile roadwork is obviously necessary, it can create traffic problems, and it can be very dangerous for those actually doing the work.  It is for this reason that we see so many public service campaigns to get people to slow down and drive safe around work zones.  These ads often feature the children of road workers asking drivers to keep their parents safe. Continue reading

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Donald Middleton of Texas was known by local authorities in Houston, TX to drink to excess and then get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. But it wasn’t his first conviction that stopped him. It wasn’t even his second, third or fourth. driving3

In fact, as The New York Times reported, Middleton had eight prior convictions and still technically had a driver’s license that was valid. But now, after his ninth conviction, not only did the judge revoke his driver’s license for life, she sentenced him to life in prison. The 56-year-old won’t be eligible for parole until he’s 86-years-old – 30 years from now.

Of course, we know that repeat DUI offenders pose a substantial threat on the road. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), one-third of all drivers arrested and convicted of drunk driving are repeat offenders. AAA DUI Justice Link reports that the risk of a driver with one or more DUI convictions becoming involved in a fatal crash is 1.4 times higher than for a driver who has no prior DUI convictions.  Continue reading

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A new campaign is underway by a Boston-based company called Cheers to once again make happy hour legal in Boston. happyhour

An online petition for the move garnered more than 8,500 signatures in just a few days. The petition states that when Massachusetts banned happy hour in 1984, it zapped the “happy” out of the handful of hours after work, which instead became “meh.” Massachusetts is one of eight states in the country that bans happy hour, which is traditionally a time when bars and restaurants lower their drink prices to extend deals to those just getting off work. Other states, including Illinois and Kansas, used to have happy hour bans, but recently overturned those laws.

The question is whether a prohibition on happy hour bans actually does anything to reduce excessive drinking or save lives. There is some evidence to suggest that it does not. Also interesting is the fact that many bars and other establishments are actually in favor of such bans because it allows them to keep their drink prices high, and avoid getting into a happy hour price war with the new up-and-coming bar down the street. However, there are others that say they are bad for business, especially in neighborhoods where patrons are more likely to walk or take a taxi home rather than drive.  Continue reading

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A 40-year-old pickup truck driver is now facing charges of motor vehicle homicide and drunk driving after the death of a 63-year-old motorcyclist who was reportedly struck head-on while riding on Agricultural Avenue in Rehoboth, about an hour south of Boston.motorcycle11

The victim had only recently retired from construction work. He had also recently survived a long battle with cancer. When he got a clean bill of health, he went out and bought the motorcycle to himself as a gift.

“He retired and decided he would enjoy life a little bit,” friends and family told local reporters. And by all accounts, he deserved to do that. After erecting a makeshift memorial at the crash site, mourners gathered to hold a memorial in remembrance of the “good man” they say “never did anything wrong to anybody” and was there “anytime you needed anything.”  Continue reading

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Massachusetts state police are beefing up their patrols near highway work zones, particularly in areas with high rates of drunk driving crashes and arrests. The decision, reported by The Boston Globe, comes just days after a road construction crew was mowed down by a drunk driver for the fourth time in just 10 days. roadconstruction2

A state police spokesperson said the problem is not the layout of the road construction zones or the safety measures that are used to protect the road construction crews. Rather, the problem is that people are driving drunk and under the influence of drugs. He called these drivers’ actions “irresponsible” and “reckless,” and is a reflection of the bigger problem of impaired driving, which is amplified to some degree in construction zones, where there may be more obstacles, people working close to the roadside and somewhat unpredictable traffic patterns.

Authorities say they intend to increase patrols, and they will additionally be conducting sobriety checkpoints in and near construction zones. Federal and state grants will help to pay for these additional enforcement actions.  Continue reading

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Ray Bourque, a former member, and star, of the Boston Bruins was just arrested on suspicion of driving drunk according to a recent news feature from the Boston Herald.  Bourque, who is currently 55-years-old, was charged with tailgating (following too closely), operating a motor vehicle under influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, and for being in a construction zone at the time of the accident.

one-car-key-1149771-mPolice in Andover allege that Bourque was under the influence of alcohol while tailgating a Mercedes- Benz minivan.  Fortunately, it does not appear that anyone was injured as result of this alleged drunk driving car accident in Boston. Continue reading