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Consequences of Drinking and Driving –

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The rumor spread across the internet (or the innerweb, as my dad calls it) was apparently a hoax. Yes, it is only an urban legend that the drinking age, nationwide, in America is going to be raised to 25. Some say it’s not a bad idea and that, at the age of 21, a person is still not mature enough to handle the responsibility and consequences of drinking and driving. Minimum drinking ages in the U.S. are established on a state-by-state basis, not mandated across the nation by federal law, though if your state doesn’t have a minimum age limit of 21 the federal government will not allocate highway funds to that state… subsequently every state now has a minimum drinking age of 21.

It would be interesting, though, to see how it would play out. When I moved to Texas in 1979, the drinking age had been changed from 21 to 18. Eventually, it went up to 19 and stayed at that age for a short time and then went back up to 21. Somewhere in between, I’m sure the age was 8. Or, maybe that was in Mexico. I hear the drinking age there has gone up to 12. Just kidding, I know it’s 18. Also back in ’79, everyone in the car could have an open container, even the driver. I thought you’d get a ticket if you didn’t drink and drive. We’ve certainly evolved over the last 30 something years. So, when hearing this rumor, my first thought was that it’s all in the evolution process.

The consequences of underage drinking and driving will result in a DUI. This includes harsh fines, drivers license suspension and possibly adding an expensive car breathalyzer device. The driver will most likely have to attend drug/alcohol and driver’s education classes as well as to complete a month or more of community service. Another penalty is possible probation for up to four years.

Oh, and a surcharge for three years. That comes in the form of a bill which you will receive in the mail. So now everyone knows about your big mistake. Even your mailman, so don’t be surprised if he offers to be your AA sponsor.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Consequences of Drinking and Driving – Comedy Defensive Driving

Amber Waves of Grain and Hops

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Katherine Lee Bates was a poet and literature professor. She wrote the verses that became known as “America The Beautiful.” One memorable line “Amber Waves of Grain” was inspired by her train journey across the midwest, my original stomping ground. This poem was paired with a hymn to commemorate the Fourth of July. I learned this while visiting the midwest last week. This is a place where you become totally dependent upon your GPS, if you get a signal at all. Cornfields on the left…soybeans on the right…where the heck am I? I could be anywhere. No discernible landmarks here in “Anywhere, U.S.A.” Another thing I learned on that trip is that the speed limit is 55 mph on most interstates that I traveled. Of course, just like anywhere else, there are no speed limit signs when you enter the interstate. Not until you’ve been traveling on it for three or so miles. I’m surprised I didn’t see more state troopers. But there are signs when you enter the interstate that inform you that the legal blood alcohol content level is .08, the same as in my state. Not surprising since this is the land of cornfields and liquor stores…and liquor made out of corn. Nearly everyone I spoke to on this trip mentioned their own DUI story. One even showed me their paper driving permit they were given when their license was revoked. Ironically, it had a ring stain on it where they had used it for a beer coaster. I wondered, had they learned their lesson? Was one conviction enough? In my state, Texas, it’s a three strikes policy. The first two convictions are a misdemeanor and the third is an automatic felony. Yes, we have evolved since the days when the offender wouldn’t go to jail until they took out a family. Now, they don’t let it get that far. And, with the Fourth of July holiday, there was sure to be many people celebrating all day long…and then hop in the car and drive home from that celebration. Again, I’m surprised I didn’t see more state troopers. I must admit, it was nice visiting my old home town. The beauty of it all was invigorating. And spending time with my family at our annual get together was more fun than I could handle. I did notice that everyone brought two coolers with them to the picnic. A large one containing their beer and a smaller one containing their back up liver. All-in-all, it was a great holiday and a beautiful fireworks display. Last year’s celebration didn’t go nearly as well. Our town’s Mayor had given someone money to buy fireworks for the city’s fireworks show and the guy never came back. This year, I hope everyone made it home safely after the celebration. A celebration of amber waves of grain and hops.

Until next week…cheers!

Daun Thompson

Holiday Parties and Drunk Driving…Scarry!

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Today is Halloween. And, with all of those little goblins and witches out there, not to mention the ones in the Amy Winehouse Rehab costumes, we want to be on our best behavior when driving through neighborhoods.
It’s bad enough when you’re not paying attention in an area swarming with pedestrians.  But drinking on top of it could be really bad news.
And, even if you are super careful and don’t flatten a kid, you could still get a trick (dwi) and a treat (being put in a cell with a girly-looking guy named Bubba). Your first offense for driving while intoxicated, at least here in Texas, is a $2,000 fine (by the way, that’s approximately 1550 Snickers bars) and possibly up to 180 days in jail (with your new girlfriend, Bubba, who happens to love Snickers bars). Plus you’ll have one great costume to wear (perhaps in a shocking pumpkin orange or in a nice chain-gang black and white stripe). You’ll definitely have to spend at least 3 days in jail (just enough time for them to tailor your costume to fit). You could lose your drivers license for up to a year (and get it back just in time for Halloween, 2012). I think there’s a special costume for losers who don’t have a driver license…it’s called the forever single costume. And, just to seal the deal, you’ll have to pay a $1,000 annual surcharge for the next three years. You only think it’s over. But they keep reminding you of the terrible mistake you made by sending you a bill monthly or quarterly until you can no longer afford gas or booze (great tactic). And providing alcohol to minors is a whopping $4,000. So don’t even think about it. As they always say to me at Neiman-Marcus… “You can’t afford it.” helps people assess their drinking patterns to see if alcohol is likely to be harming their health. And, no, they don’t share your information with Johnny Law and set you up. Your information is private. They do give you the option to share the website with someone you know who might benefit from the site, though. Do this, and you may just get your butt kicked by your drunken friend.  But it’s a cool website. Check it out just for fun.

Until next week…stay safe.

Daun Thompson

I do NOT like road rage!

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“Everything is bigger and better in Texas!”That’s pretty much the un-official slogan of the lone star state but there is one more slogan you can add to the list; “Piss us off on the road and we’ll shoot you!”Road rage is an infectious psychotic pandemic that has swept across America since the 19—‘s and has grown with the change of pop culture and the so-called “advancement of society.”Long gone are the days of human decency and kindness to your fellow man…and woman.Even in Texas, that is referred to as the “Friendly State” has its fair share of Wild West shoot outs on our freeways.Now I know I have wrote on the subject of road rage more times than any other topic even more than the number of sexual innuendos…OK, sexual innuendos is leading by one. But road rage seems to be on the rise or maybe it’s just me lately feeling like I want to shot the a$$(-)*!% who just cut me off on the freeway!I’m afraid living in a big city like Dallas and all the freeway gridlock is turning me into the kind of person I do not like;some pretentious jerk who thinks it’s all about him and “screw everybody else.”I don’t want to be that person!I don’t want to tailgate an elderly person who might be driving too slowly like George Costanza shoving old people and children out of the way to escape a burning building.

I will have to do something different if I want to make a difference in my world, a world with no road rage and not so much stress when I drive.It seems like when I start my day everything is fine at first but after 2 miles on 635 I turn into Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome!I will have to keep a sign on my bath room mirror to remind me;“Today I will not get road rage and I will NOT shoot anyone!”Join me again next week and until then…

Take care and be safe-

Danny Keaton

Happy Holiday Rush

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As we start our once a year ritual of the holiday season, oh wait a minute, it actually started over a month ago according to the commercials on tv and that holiday music I heard on the radio.  

The holidays are a time for getting together with friends and family and hopfully a time for remembering our blessings.  But we all know how stressful the holidays can be and how we can take that out on the other drivers on the road with us.  Not only do we still have the everyday responsibilities of going to work, picking up kids from school and making appointments, but now throw in holiday shopping, going from one mall to another then to Wal-Mart, going to grandma’s house for dinner and hoping that “Drunk Uncle Ned’ doesn’t show up.  It’s enough to spark road rage with one honk of the horn or being cut-off on the freeway!

When you are on the road please be kind to your fellow drivers.  If the traffic is backed up let someone else in and if someone lets you in, give them a friendly “thank you” wave, with all five fingers!  Give yourself plenty of time for your shopping, try not to be in a rush, I know, easier said than done.  Let’s make this the best holiday season ever with no road rage!!  Together we can make it happen.  See you next week.

Happy Thanksgiving!!-

Danny Keaton