Tag Archives: blood

Faison Calls for Lowering DUI Standard to .05 Blood Alcohol

State Rep. Jeremy Faison says he will sponsor legislation next year to lower the legal standard for a presumption of drunken driving in Tennessee from 0.08 blood alcohol content to 0.05 as recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board.
“I think it’s an important thing to do. What we’ve been doing is not working and we have tens of thousands of Americans dying because of drunk driving,” said Faison, R-Cosby.
The NTSB this week recommended that states lower the threshold for a presumption of drunken driving from 0.08 to 0.05, the standard already in place for more than 100 other countries around the world. No state currently has a 0.05 general standard.
Faison said Tennessee was among the last states to lower its DUI standard from 0.10 to 0.08 and being the first to drop the standard to 0.05 would position Tennessee as leader in combating drunken driving instead of a follower.
While there has been “an awful lot of emphasis lately on guns with high-capacity magazines” in crime, Faison said drunken driving causes far more violent death and thus deserves far more attention “if we’re going to champion life.”
The legislator, who serves as vice chairman of the House Criminal Justice Committee, said his personal interest in the subjects dates to the death of his sister, Becky, in an accident caused by a drunken driver a week after her 16th birthday, when he was 14.
“He (the drunken driver) basically got off with probation,” said Faison, who said he would otherwise like to see DUI laws strengthened to include seizure of a first offender’s vehicle. Current law provides for seizure of a vehicle only after multiple convictions.
“If the punishment doesn’t outweigh the pleasure of the crime, people are going to keep on doing it,” he said.
The Legislature earlier this year voted to require for the first time that first DUI convicts be required to obtain an ignition interlock device, which requires the driver to take a breath alcohol test before his or her car will start.
According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Office website, fatalities caused by alcohol-impaired drivers declined by 31.8 percent in Tennessee from 2007 through 2011 — or from 377 to 257 in that period. The preliminary figure for 2012 is 246 fatalities involving an alcohol-impaired driver.
The office also says that Tennessee Highway Patrol arrests for DUI increased by 25.4 percent from 2007 through 2012.
Faison said he will either file a bill lowering the standard to 0.05 next year himself or sign on as a co-sponsor to a more senior member willing to push the measure.
Faison, who is in his second term as a representative, said he that “with the way things work” a veteran lawmaker likely would have a better chance of success with passage of a potentially controversial measure.

Protestors Penetrate High Security Area at Oak Ridge’s Y-12

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (AP) — Authorities at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge say three people were arrested early Saturday for trespassing and defacing a building in a high security area of the site.
A press release from the facility said the incident occurred about 4:30 a.m. and an investigation into how they got into the facility is being led by the Department of Energy Inspector General.
The individuals, whose names were not released by Y-12 officials, were to be transported to another facility to be processed with federal trespassing charges.
Y-12 maintains the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile and provides nuclear fuel for the Navy and for research reactors worldwide. The statement from the facility said the incident appeared to be a protest-related action.
Steven Wyatt, a spokesman for the facility, said Saturday that the individuals used spray paint and a substance that looked like blood to deface the building.
Knoxville News Sentinel reported (http://bit.ly/MU8CD3 ) that the three people were members of a group called Transform Now Plowshares. Ellen Barfield, who described herself as a friend of the group who had spoken with one of the people after the arrests, said the three individuals had cut through fences to get access and posted a banner and poured blood.
Barfield identified the three as Michael R. Walli, 63, of Washington, D.C.; Megan Rice, 82, of Nevada; and Greg Boertje-Obed, 57, of Duluth, Minn.
Rice was listed in the Blount County jail’s online inmate information system as a federal inmate.
The nuclear complex does get protesters and activists to the site and Wyatt said they often stand in a public area near the facility’s front entrance. About a dozen activists were convicted last year of trespassing after they intentionally crossed a blue line separating state and federal property at the complex in 2010.

‘No Refusal’ Blood Not Kept in State Database

The blood samples collected from suspected drunk drivers under a new “No Refusal” law are not added to a national DNA database used by prosecutors, state public safety officials have told TNReport.
“Blood samples obtained by a search warrant from a suspected DUI offender are tested for blood alcohol content only,” Department of Safety Spokeswoman Jennifer Donnals said via email. “Those blood samples are not used for any other purpose and are NOT placed in a DNA database.”
“There’s no DNA ever run on those,” said Kristin Helm, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. “I can assure you that’s not the case.”
The state this summer began enforcing a new law that allows cops to seek a warrant to compel people accused of driving under the influence to involuntarily give up a blood sample if they refuse a Breathalyzer or blood test. State troopers forced eight people to submit to blood tests over the Fourth of July holiday weekend during the first test of the new law, DPS said.

Eight DUI Suspects Forced to Give Blood Under ‘No Refusal’ Law

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Safety Department says the new “no refusal” state law produced warrants for blood samples from eight drunken driving suspects who wouldn’t take a breath test.
A five-county effort launched last week aimed to raise motorist awareness of the law. Until this year, drivers could refuse a blood alcohol content test but faced losing their licenses for violating what’s known as the “implied consent” law.
The toughened law allows officers to ask a judge to issue a warrant for blood samples that can support a drunken driving charge.
Sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols led to one warrant in Anderson County, one warrant in Davidson County and six in Maury County. Bradley and Warren counties also were part of the crackdown, which produced 48 DUI arrests.

Rep. Todd Misses Vote on Mandatory Blood Tests for DUI

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — State Rep. Curry Todd, who faces drunken driving and gun charges following an arrest last year, on Thursday skipped a House vote on a bill to give judges the ability to compel blood tests for drivers who refuse to give breath alcohol tests when they are arrested.
The Collierville Republican voted in favor of two earlier bills seeking to tighten drunken driving laws, and was in attendance for most of the debate over the implied consent bill. But Todd left shortly before a vote on the bill that ultimately passed on a 52-33 — just two votes more than the minimum needed to clear the chamber.
Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell of Nashville announced after the vote that Todd had been excused, and a spokeswoman said Todd had been feeling ill.
Todd, a retired Memphis police officer, announced this week that he had been diagnosed with cancer, but that he was not yet experiencing any symptoms or undergoing treatment. He was the main architect of a state law allowing handgun carry permit holders to be armed in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.
Todd was arrested on charges of drunken driving and carrying a loaded handgun while intoxicated when police stopped his vehicle in a neighborhood near Vanderbilt and Belmont universities in October. He was also charged with violating Tennessee’s implied consent law by refusing to submit to a breath-alcohol test.
The measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Tony Shipley of Kingsport passed despite concerns raised by a bipartisan group of lawmakers that the bill would violate constitutional protections against self-incrimination.
Eight Democrats joined 44 Republicans to pass the bill. The companion bill is expecting a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee next week.