New - September 2000
and Other News in the DUI Prevention Community
more phony blocks on road in Iron County , Utah
Deseret News staff
Utah - A controversial police tactic, designed to help cops
nab drivers toting or using drugs and alcohol on the road,
has been temporarily shelved in Iron County but remains
vibrant throughout the rest of the state.
County Attorney Scott M. Burns has his way, the surveillance
maneuver, dubbed the "no-block roadblock," will remain on
the shelf permanently.
Patrol troopers regularly conduct "no-block roadblocks"
that consist of strategically placed officers and a sign
set up along the highway shoulder. Sign messages reading
"drug-sniffing dog ahead," or "narcotics officers, checkpoint
up ahead," are the normal bait, UHP spokesman Chris Kramer
examine cars passing the sign and watch for drivers who
behave suspiciously. Kramer cited obvious examples like
flipping a U-turn or throwing things out a car window as
reasons cars would be pulled over.
blatant but still suspicious offenders are followed and
are pulled over if they disobey any minor traffic law. Troopers
then conduct a routine traffic stop, although they are often
shadowed by a drug-sniffing canine while sidling up to a
dogs can pick up any sign of drugs even when they're outside
the car," Kramer said. If the dogs sniff something suspicious
it gives troopers probable cause to rifle through the vehicle,
law police agencies must garner a judge's approval before
conducting a roadblock. With a court setting specific guidelines
including dates, duration and purpose for the traffic checks,
agencies can use roadblocks. Burns says the UHP never receives
court permission for "no-block roadblocks," making the resulting
argues the signs don't constitute roadblocks but merely
trick would-be drug users and dealers; thus his department
doesn't need court approval.
a roadblock because we're not stopping traffic," he said.
doesn't buy the argument.
is that this is an attempt to circumvent the statute, and
if it is, I'm confident that an appellate court is not going
to allow it to continue," he said.
the potential violation of state law, Burns says, the process
may infringe on constitutional rights involving search and
patrol has set forth a plan and will present it to a judge
to see if it conforms with the Fourth Amendment," Burns
roadblocks, then, should soon become court tested or rejected.
Burns said Iron County has four DUI cases pending that stem
from arrests derived out of the "no block" searching procedure.
When the process is given a judicial once-over it could
be reinstated or disallowed altogether. Kramer said the
UHP, often in cooperation with local police agencies, will
continue to use the "no block" strategy in all other Utah
counties as the Iron County legal saga unfolds.
block roadblock" is used with greater frequency in southern
Utah, where Kramer says drug syndicates use the rural highways
as routes for interstate trafficking.
Sheriff Dude Benson said he wouldn't rule out using the
"no block" method but is steering clear of the current debate.
between the county attorney and the highway patrol," he
said. "We're staying out of it."
ordinance in Winona, Minnesota targets college keg parties
Minn. (AP) August 14 -- Hoping to curtail loud parties and
underage drinking in this college town, city officials are
considering an ordinance to penalize residents caught with
more than one keg of beer in their homes.
the proposal, which will go before the City Council in a
few weeks, residents caught with more than one keg in their
homes can be charged with a misdemeanor and face up to $700
in fines and 90 days in jail.
9, 000 students attend St. Mary' s University and Winona
The idea is if you curb the party -- you curb the underage
drinking, you curb the noise and you curb the litter, "
Mayor Jerry Miller said. " I realize kids go to school and
they have parties, and we' re not going to stop that --
we' re just trying to control it."
at both universities approached the police to get their
help in keeping its students safe.
The presidents of both colleges have come to me in the past
few years saying, ' We need help. The kids are getting too
drunk and getting injured and damaging property, " ' Police
Chief Frank Pomeroy said. " (They said) we need to get the
emphasis on education and not on being a party town."
after similar ordinances in St. Cloud and Mankato, the one-keg
proposal also comes partly in response to the Rental Housing
Code passed in March. That Winona ordinance penalizes landlords
for public nuisance arrests made on their property.
police make arrests three times within one year, the landlord
could lose his or her rental license. So landlords wanted
help from the city to prevent big parties from getting out
What we don' t want to do is to penalize the average person,
" Miller said. " There are some people who have kegs in
their house and don' t cause any problems. If you had 10
kegs in your house and didn' t make a lot of noise, the
police would never have a reason to come to your house."
proposal is already causing a stir among students.
determined to drink are considering block parties where
each house would have one keg. Others say they' ll just
move the parties farther away from town, inching into the
rural areas away from the watchful eye of the ordinance.
I know there are ways around this -- there always are, "
Miller said. " You can have one keg in the house and two
kegs waiting in a car ... I mean, I went to school too,
Spaeth, 21, a senior at Winona State University, lives at
Pepsi House, which has the reputation of throwing the most
parties off-campus. The house usually holds parties -- with
five to seven kegs -- twice a week. He isn' t too supportive
of the proposed ordinance.
Uh, that wouldn' t be good, " he said. " I think maybe it
would cut down on big parties, but we' ll just probably
have ... parties instead where you fill up a garbage can
with juice and hard alcohol."
students say the ordinance could be a deterrent to large
It' s going to stop people from having more parties, and
especially large parties that will attract attention, "
said Andy Davis, 23, a sixth-year senior at Winona State.
Back to top
to Speed? Pre-Paid Traffic Tickets Spark National Debate
- Let's face it. Nobody likes getting a speeding ticket.
So the National Motorists Association has come up with what
they think is a brilliant idea: Pre-paid traffic tickets.
insurance-like program, which offers to pay for DUI violations
as well, has sparked a nationwide controversy about safety
on America's roads.
works like this: For a monthly fee of $5 to $50 - the amount
varying based on the amount of coverage - NMA members can
'insure' themselves for up to $1,000 of traffic violations
each month. As long as the ticket involves points on the
license, the association will pick up the tab. The violation
can be anything from speeding and illegal lane changes to
drunk or reckless driving.
that more and more these days, the (traffic) laws are unjust,"
says Eric Skrum, a spokesperson for the driver advocacy
group. "This is simply a way to help people fight unwarranted
and unjustified tickets."
offers a 'legal defense kit' to all those who enroll in
the 'pre-paid' program (they can't officially call it insurance
because they are not licensed to sell policies). The purpose
of the 9-pound kit, Skrum said, is to point out ways in
which officers can get things wrong, not to highlight loopholes
in the law.
want to make people aware of their legal rights," he said.
American Automobile Association, the nation's oldest motoring
club, sees it differently.
you're paying because you're anticipating breaking the law,"
says Mantill Williams, AAA's national spokesperson. "It
flies in the face of good sense and logic and we don't think
it's going to promote safe driving."
some statistical studies have shown a direct link between
excessive speed and traffic accidents. According to the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
nearly a third of all fatal crashes in 1998 were speed-related.
In addition to the human tragedy, the economic impact of
such accidents averages to nearly $30 billion a year.
Wisconsin-based NMA, which lobbied to eliminate the 55-mph
national speed limit in 1995, insists that many of the country's
speed limits are under posted. According to Skrum, politics
influences posted speed limits more than engineering studies
do, with some states under posting 'for revenue purposes
alone,' he said. The message: Just because you were caught
speeding doesn't necessarily mean you were driving dangerously.
fast and driving recklessly are separate issues, Skrum says,
and the normal deterrence to reckless driving are still
there: "People don't want to hurt themselves. They don't
want to damage their cars. They don't want to injure others.
And they don't want to pay higher premiums," he says.
about 30 people have signed up for the pre-paid traffic
tickets. But if the NMA deems the program useful to its
7,000 members, it may extend the offer to non-members as
well. That is, only if Wisconsin's Insurance Commission
- which is currently looking into the legality of the program
- doesn't nip the program in the bud first.
Back to top
Father Pleads No Contest in Teen Party Case
Wisconsin - A Town of Eagle father has pleaded no contest
to a ticket for failing to prevent an underage drinking
party where middle-schoolers videotaped themselves drinking,
using drugs and fondling each other.
Burner, 44, must pay $427 for the non-criminal ticket, Circuit
Judge Mark Gempeler ordered.
son and other 13- and 14-year-old students who attended
a Dec. 11 party at Burner's house made the videotape to
cheer up another girl who was hospitalized with a spinal
injury after a drunken driving crash.
lighting up for you. . . . Wish you were here," a youth
said on the video.
Police Chief Hans Lux said he had warned Burner that his
son was planning an underage drinking party.
said that Lux expressed concern only about traffic, not
drinking. Yet Burner said he stayed at home to supervise
the party, and locked his beer in a car trunk to keep it
from the teens. He said they went outside to a barn where
they drank and smoked marijuana without his knowledge.
attorney, Carlos Gamino, said in an interview that Burner
was pleading no contest only because he didn't want to embarrass
his son by forcing the son's friends to testify at a trial.
did not appear in court and repeated attempts to reach him
for comment Thursday and Friday were unsuccessful.
Attorney Paul Bucher said he believed there was evidence
Burner "knew or should have known" about the beer that some
teens brought to the party in backpacks.
in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Aug. 21, 2000.
Back to top
Decides City Can Seize Homes Where Kids Drink
August 22, 2000
Journal Staff Writer
New Mexico - Albuquerque councilors Monday gave the city
the authority to seize a home if the owners do nothing to
stop their kids from hosting beer parties.
drinking is a big problem," said Councilor Brad Winter,
who sponsored the ordinance. "If there's anything we can
do to curb this phenomenon in our community, we should do
gives neighborhoods and city officials strong leverage to
require homeowners to crack down on their kids' drinking
parties, Winter said.
approved 7-1, strengthens the city's nuisance-abatement
ordinance, which allows the city to seize houses known for
drug dealing and prostitution. Councilor Mike McEntee cast
the lone vote against the bill. Councilor Alan Armijo was
told other councilors he agreed underage drinking is a problem
but argued that another law won't help.
need is more and better enforcement of laws we have," McEntee
Bob White called the measure an "attention-getter" for homeowners
who cause chronic problems for neighbors and police.
us a hammer," White said. "We would work with the parents
who may not know their house is a party house."
he expects the city to seize few, if any, houses under the
ordinance. The city has filed only a few lawsuits under
the existing nuisance-abatement law, which is used chiefly
to combat drug houses, he said. But the city's ability to
seize a house encourages "self-enforcement" on the part
of homeowners and landlords, he said.
councilors approved a measure that allows the city to fine
or even jail parents who fail to prevent their kids from
hosting drinking parties at home. Fines start at $100 for
a first offense and climb to $500 for a third offense. People
who violate the law four times could spend up to 10 days
said he sponsored both bills in response to the stabbing
death in December of a 16-year-old Eldorado High School
was killed during a party at a Northeast Heights home hosted
by a teen-ager while his parents were out of town. In that
case, Winter said, police were called to the residence on
a number of occasions before the night of the stabbing,
but no action was taken against the owner.
deferred the home-seizure proposal in April in response
to concerns from some homeowners who feared they would lose
their home if their kids held a few parties. Others, he
said, "didn't want big brother looking over their shoulder."
said he was able to persuade skeptics that the city had
no intention of seizing a house after just a few incidents.
The city would use the ordinance only if a house became
a chronic problem and a source of criminal activity in a
neighborhood, he said.
Grove, Illinois Hotel Managers Back Minimum Age Rental Plan
Special to the Chicago Tribune
GROVE, Illinois - Hotel and motel managers in Downers Grove
have agreed to push for a village ordinance that would prohibit
renting a room to anyone under 21.
general manager of Marriott Suites Downers Grove and chairman
of the village's Visitors Bureau board of directors, said
he wanted to see if managers would be receptive to such
an ordinance, in hopes of preventing problems. In a meeting
last week , representatives from most of the village's seven
hotels and three motels said they were willing to try it.
came from Schaumburg, which adopted an ordinance in May
to stop hotels from being used for underage drinking parties.
we don't really have a problem in Downers Grove. For the
most part, we're looking at it as a pro-active measure,"
is growing, and we just want to be in front of any potential
with renting a room to a minor, Ravenscraft said, could
mean someone skipping out on a bill, leaving a damaged room
or underage drinking.
not saying in Downers Grove there is an overriding issue,"
Suites, he estimated, sees only three or four situations
per year that could lead to trouble with minors.
are a lot of very mature young adults out there," Ravenscraft
said. "Unfortunately, there are a few that aren't and those
are the ones we need to be mindful of."
praised police for alerting them to high school proms and
dances. The department lets them know when schools are holding
proms to keep hotels on guard for teens looking for a place
to celebrate, Police Chief Riccardo Ginex said.
involving minors renting hotel rooms have become rare in
recent years, he said.
have really taken on a new attitude," Ginex said. "As far
as us getting any complaints or responding to situations,
it's pretty low."
it's not really a prom issue, but it's when we let our guard
down throughout the remainder of the year that we're susceptible
to problems," Ravenscraft said.
does not have a law that requires hotels to turn away customers
based on age, but several hotels have set their own policies.
Lodge has a corporate policy prohibiting clerks from renting
rooms to people under 18, said Jack Murphy, general manager
of the Downers Grove facility. And Holiday Inn Express has
a policy that requires guests to be 21 or older, said Wendy
Heberling, general manager of the Downers Grove Holiday
we just want a little bit of backup," Murphy said of the
"If a person
gets difficult when they're trying to check in, we can say,
`Well, it's against the law.'"
an ordinance in place also would give hotels some legal
recourse when an adult rents a room for a minor, managers
adult checks in, passes the key to a minor and the bill
is unpaid or a room is damaged, the hotel could hold the
a potential loss of revenue with such an ordinance in place,
Lisa Wisner, director of the Downers Grove Visitors Bureau,
said the majority of weekday lodging business comes from
seemed to agree that a law requiring them to turn away guests
under 21 would not hurt business.
ENFORCEMENT TO FOCUS ON BARS IN DUPAGE COUNTY, IL
Tribune Staff Writer
August 30, 2000
COUNTY, Illinois - Following several fatal alcohol-related
traffic crashes in the area, DuPage County's top law enforcement
official is promising to push for a crackdown on area bars
that overserve patrons and then do nothing as their customers
amble out the door to the parking lot.
State's Atty. Joseph Birkett said he plans to formulate
a strategy to better enforce local ordinances on over-serving
when he meets with the county's chiefs of police in an annual
gathering this fall.
the works is the organization of a local committee of prosecutors,
public defenders and judges that will review the state's
DUI provisions this spring--from bail guidelines to the
In an interview
this week, Birkett said liquor commissioners in DuPage towns
should know when a person arrested for DUI can be traced
to a bar in their town and bars that are repeatedly identified
by police and prosecutors should face fines and suspensions
of their liquor licenses.
bars more accountable is not the answer to the DUI problem,
Birkett said, but it could be a key component in a new push
to keep intoxicated drivers from getting behind the wheel.
have knowledge or information [about an establishment],
we should enforce the law," he said. "When we are able to
backtrack and know when a person has been sitting in an
establishment for hours being overserved . . . we should
bring that to a local liquor commissioner for possible suspension.
not be a suspension every time, but we have to wake them
of any punishment should depend on a history of violations,
said Birkett, who also has pushed for tougher sentencing
guidelines for repeat DUI offenders.
leaders and liquor commissioners contacted Tuesday supported
the initiative, but some bar owners urged caution.
towns have DUI notification plans in place that inform bar
owners and liquor commissioners when a DUI offender points
to a business as the place they visited before driving.
Those running the programs were quick to point out the benefits
and limitations of the initiatives.
Grove notifies its commission if police making a DUI arrest
link a local establishment to their case, said Carol Conforti,
an assistant village attorney and liaison to the liquor
one licensee that presented a repeat problem was confronted
during its liquor license renewal hearing and agreed to
send its employees to a class on recognizing intoxication.
advise these businesses if they get a number of DUIs," Conforti
said. "And there can be fines or suspensions or non-renewals
of licenses if we think it's a major problem."
said those who handle such programs recognize that most
of the information authorities rely on is coming from the
alleged offenders themselves.
with this type of notification problem is that you're talking
to an intoxicated individual who you don't know to be telling
the truth," she said. "It can be kind of difficult to pinpoint
operating under such programs agreed. Jim Montesantos, owner
and president of the Founder's Hill Brewery and Pub in Downers
Grove, said many people stopped for DUI tell police they've
been drinking at a local bar to avoid telling an arresting
officer they've actually driven some distance while intoxicated.
said he's in favor of raising awareness but said more information
is needed before punishing bars.
really trust information from these people, so I'd hate
to see the sanctions just come off that," he said. "It's
still unproven in my mind."
had a different concern. John Wissel, who runs the York
Tavern near Oak Brook, said the state's blood-alcohol limit
of .08 percent for drivers represents a gray area.
on your body weight, that can be two drinks in two hours,"
Wissel said. "You're legally drunk, but is that overserving?
If you're in a crash, is that the bar owner's responsibility?"
Illinois Restaurant Association and the Illinois Licensed
Beverage Association on Tuesday promised to review any new
proposal from county law enforcement.
hurdle would be the sharing of information across town lines.
of the last three major DuPage cases that resulted in reckless
homicide charges for allegedly drunken drivers, those charged
were involved in wrecks in towns that were different from
those where the drivers had been drinking.
Mayor Tom Marcucci said he would support any plan that would
result in more information sharing. In most DuPage towns,
the mayor or village president acts as head of the local
liquor commission and has broad powers of enforcement. County
Board Chairman Robert Schillerstrom handles unincorporated
said most DuPage leaders take their job controlling liquor
seriously. He said he would support suspensions for violators.
he said. "Maybe not on the first offense, but definitely
if we noticed a pattern."
Police Chief Mel Mack said he would support a broader-based
effort to share information. He said his department puts
together an annual summary for the Addison liquor commission
that lists DUI offenders and the bar or tavern they allegedly
has no problem calling a bar owner into a meeting to confront
them or putting their license on a probationary status,"
Mayor George Pradel said that he suspended one establishment's
liquor license for more than 30 days two years ago for overserving.
had been cited repeatedly, Pradel said, and faced the tough
punishment after a patron left the bar intoxicated and was
involved in a serious crash.
Police Chief David Dial said his department provides a monthly
report on DUI information. Most bar owners, he said, are
responsible people who don't want their employees serving
alcohol to patrons until they stumble out the front door,
but he said those who allow the practice should face harsher
has to be something else we can do," said Dial, who added
he was horrified by the recent string of crashes, including
one that took the lives of a mother and father, and the
man's parents. "We don't need another headline that says,
`Family of 4 killed by another drunk driver.' That's absurd."
DUI Detail in Anchorage is Paying Off
Aug. 6- Accidents caused by drunk drivers have become
all too familiar stories in Anchorage, with often tragic
endings. Now Anchorage police have a DWI detail looking
for these drivers seven days a week, and their efforts appear
to pay off. Just in the last week, officers made 50 drunk
driving-related arrests, with 17 of those this weekend.
numbers are big, but the problem isn't getting worse. There
are simply more police officers to take drunk drivers off
Police Department Officer Walter Barsch begins patrolling
Anchorage streets around 10 p.m. Saturday. He is trying
to find drunk drivers, and the way he looks for them is
by pulling over every driver with expired plates, broken
headlights or any other traffic violation.
a lot of people without valid drivers' licenses and no insurance,
and it's just a reason for me to pull them over," he said.
driver is drunk, Barsch will have a long night. It takes
at least two and a half hours to process a drunk driving
arrest if the suspect cooperates.
gets hard where there's gonna be blood drawn and the person
is uncooperative, it can go for hours," Barsch said.
p.m., Barsch makes his ninth traffic stop of the night after
a driver runs a red light. The driver fails each of the
field sobriety tests but one. Later during a breathalyzer
test, however, the suspect blows a zero-zero-zero. In other
words, no alcohol reading. But the arrest and the paperwork
will keep Barsch tied up until 2:30 a.m.
is busy working on the stop, other officers arrest and process
two other drunk driving suspects, and more are waiting on
the streets. Like a 15-year-old who police say took a motorhome
from Clippership Motorhome Rentals for a joy ride after
a couple of beers.
as there's alcohol and people driving, you're going to have
people that make bad decisions," Barsch said.
remains: Are people making more bad decisions? Or did the
recent rash of DWI accidents just get our attention?
32 DWIs in a weekend and (people say), 'Wow! DWIs are getting
bad.' No, that's the way it's always been," Barsch said.
"It's just (that) now we have the officers out there to
make the stops.
patrols are funded by grant money, which will pay for them
through Labor Day. APD doesn't say yet what will happen
after that date.
to August 2000 Update