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Drunk Drivers

August 25, 2012 | By Devorah Lauter, Los Angeles Times
PARIS - Mention the name Daniel Orgeval in France these days, and an unpopular little device inevitably comes up: the breathalyzer. But lately Orgeval has been thinking about another "gadget" that was once a staple in the country's system of law and order: the guillotine. "If they were still around today," he says, hesitates, looks straight ahead and raises thin, graying eyebrows, "I start to wonder. About mob lynching. Things like that. " Orgeval, 65, has rings around his eyes, and his face gets a clammy sheen when he mentions the threats people have made against him for his support of the alcohol test.
April 11, 2012 | John M. Glionna
LAS VEGAS -- Maybe legendary race car driver Al Unser Jr. thought he saw a raised checkered flag in the dead of night on that lonely stretch of New Mexico freeway: Speeds were high, discretion apparently tossed to the wind. But with his second DUI conviction on Wednesday in less than five years, it's Unser's reputation that's now seemingly a bit more checkered. The two-time Indianapolis 500 winner pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated and drag racing, charges that stemmed from a September incident near Albuquerque, authorities say. Unser, 49, a scion of the legendary Albuquerque Unser racing family, entered his guilty plea the day before he was scheduled to be tried on aggravated DUI, drag racing and reckless driving charges.
April 8, 2012
Skynet has not become self-aware, but it's hard to escape the feeling that we're heading for a "Terminator"-like future in which intelligent machines start wanting to run the show, what with cellphones that can talk to us and websites that can peg our entertainment preferences with eerie accuracy. So it should come as little surprise that someday our cars might exercise better judgment than we do. A new electronic device may be on the horizon that goes well beyond such common automotive safety features as alarms that nag us to buckle our seat belts or daytime running lights that won't let us turn them off: sensors that can smell a driver's breath and block ignition if they determine that he or she is drunk.
March 30, 2012 | By Patt Morrison
Echo Park is at least a half-hipster hipster neighborhood now, but what it was when Brando Skyhorse was growing up there was quite different: one of the working-class parts of town ringing Dodger Stadium, home to a lot of Latinos, among them Skyhorse's family. I talked to him a while back about his novel "The Madonnas of Echo Park," and just popped off an email to him this week to congratulate him on the news that HBO is working on making "Madonnas" into a dramatic series.
March 28, 2012 | By Dan Turner
Those who think we're already living in a nanny state probably aren't going to like the nanny cars of the future. Cars already sometimes behave like a nagging mom who's seemingly more concerned about our safety than we are -- hence the dashboard beeping when you try to drive away without a seatbelt buckled, or the daytime running lights on some models that won't shut off even if you want them to. But that's nothing compared to what may be...
March 23, 2012 | Bill Dwyre
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are on the brink of a season to remember. This summer should be a game-changer, a franchise-maker, a preview of rosy things to come. All things considered, the Big A should become the Huge A. The second-fiddle role, the little-brother-to-the-Dodgers stuff that has plagued the Angels for so long, should begin to change with this springboard season. Years ago, in his TV commercials for a camera, a long-haired tennis star, Andre Agassi, confirmed a societal axiom: Image is everything.
March 7, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
Drunk drivers receiving their first conviction were less likely to be repeat offenders if they were forced to have alcohol interlock devices on their vehicles, according to a new study. Looking at alcohol-impaired driving convictions in Washington, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that the rate of repeat offenders has fallen 12% since the state expanded its interlock requirement eight years ago to include everyone convicted of driving under the influence. Previously, Washington required the device, which a driver must blow into before starting the vehicle, for repeat offenders, drivers caught with high blood-alcohol levels and those who refused an alcohol test.
March 1, 2012 | By Ricardo Lopez
Maybe he was lost? An alleged drunk driver steered his Jeep onto the runways of Philadelphia International Airport on Thursday morning, startling onlookers and forcing the airport to close for about 30 minutes. Although he didn't make it onto any runways that were in use, Kenneth Mazik caused several flights to be diverted while police worked to intercept his black Jeep Grand Cherokee, Philadelphia police said.  Mazik, 24, allegedly drove through a runway gate fence shortly after 11 a.m. and led police officers and a fleet of emergency workers on a brief chase.
December 14, 2011 | By Angel Jennings, Los Angeles Times
The number of alcohol-related fatalities on California highways dropped to a record low last year, with the biggest single-year drop in DUI deaths in 14 years, according to a federal report released Tuesday. The drop was largely attributable to federally funded anti-drunk driving campaigns, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. Alcohol contributed to 791 deaths in the state in 2010, a nearly 17% decline from the 950 deaths in 2009. "Education is the key thing we use to inform the public about the reality and dangers of drunk driving," said Officer Mike Harris, a public information officer for the California Highway Patrol.
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