Football fans in California may have seen P.J. Williams most recently when his New Orleans Saints were beaten by the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship game. However, they may not know that the promising 25-year-old cornerback was taken into custody for driving drunk after being pulled over by police in Louisiana during the early morning hours of Jan. 23. Media accounts of the incident reveal that this is not the first time Williams has been accused of getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.
A California state law requiring people who are convicted of DUIs to install ignition interlock mechanisms in their vehicles went into effect on Jan. 1. The law was signed by the governor in 2016. In order to get back their privileges to drive, people who have DUI convictions will have to install the devices, which are essentially a Breathalyzer connected to the vehicle's ignition system, preventing the car from starting if the driver has been drinking.
More DUI offenders in California will soon be required to submit to and pass a breath test (breathalyzer) before starting their vehicles. Starting in 2019, a pilot program that started in certain Golden State counties will be expanded statewide because of a bill that was passed with unanimous support. The new law requires first-time DUI offenders involved in incidents that resulted in injuries to use an ignition interlock device (IID) that only allows a vehicle to be started if a breath test is passed.
A study suggests that veterans in California and across the United States may be drunk driving and binge drinking more now than in past years. Researchers for American Addiction Centers looked at data provided by the Center for Disease Control. The data showed observations for behavior risks and looked at the number of incidents of binge drinking by veterans, drunk driving accidents involving a veteran and the number of veterans who experience emotional trauma that may lead to alcohol abuse.
About 30 percent of the motorists involved in fatal accidents in California each year test positive for drugs or alcohol, which is why police departments in the state take impaired driving extremely seriously. Roadside DUI checkpoints and roadblocks have been ruled unconstitutional in 10 states, including Oregon and Washington, but they are often used by law enforcement in California in the battle against drunk and drugged driving.
Police in California say that a call from a concerned citizen led them to a seriously impaired driver on the evening of Nov. 11. After receiving the call at approximately 11:19 p.m., emergency operators dispatched officers from the Petaluma Police Department to a fast food restaurant on East Washington Street. Upon arrival, the officers took a 36-year-old Sonoma County man into custody on suspicion of drunk driving charges.
At least one driver is arrested for DUI in Napa County every 12 hours during the summer months, according to statistics released by the California Highway Patrol and other agencies. They made 184 drunk driving arrests between June and August of this year. While Napa police arrested 40 people suspected of driving under the influence, the Sheriff's office arrested 36 more drivers. The California Highway Patrol conducted the vast majority of the arrests, seizing 108 people on DUI charges during that time.
California drivers who are traveling east for the holidays should be aware that on the day before New Year's Eve, Utah will drop its blood alcohol content limit from .08 percent to .05 percent, giving it the lowest drunk driving limit in the nation. The move comes at the recommendation of the National Transportation Safety Board, and other states, including California, could eventually follow suit.
In the early morning hours of October 23, a suspected drunk driver crashed his vehicle into several objects along a California street, causing it to burst into flames. The incident took place in Garden Grove.
On Sept. 16, California authorities arrested Los Angeles Rams football player Aaron Neary on suspicion of drunk driving. He was taken into custody in Simi Valley.