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DUI, Part II: Investigation

Last year my life was forever changed. I was arrested for DUI as I was driving home from a beer festival. As a long-time beer blogger and advocate of knowing when to say when, this was devastating. Over the next few weeks, I will be telling my story in hopes that my experience will resonate with my readers and deter them from taking any chances when their ability to drive after having a few beers may be impaired.

Read Part I of this series here.

Dui_screen_capThe evening was warm and clear with a slight breeze coming from the river. The type of evening that could be called a Chamber of Conference night. It was a perfect. But, in just an instant, the perfect evening was filled with sirens coming from every direction. Flashing lights began to appear from the police building just over a block behind me and from the other three directions of the intersection. The dark, quiet intersection had suddenly been transformed into a noisy, confusing tableau of flashing lights and piercing sounds.

Confusion, shock and a sudden awareness that life had just become very complicated set in. Along with these a flood of emotions washed over me. My first instinct was to get out of the truck and go to the police vehicle, but since I decided that might be a bad idea. I did not know what the reaction of the officer would be and thought it better to wait for other officers to tell me what to do.

Within seconds an officer was at the window of my truck requesting my driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. In my still shocked state, I fumbled through my wallet and extracted the requested documentation. The officer looked over the cards and told me to stay put. I tried to ask a question, but before I could frame it, he was gone.

All the activity going on around me was frightening, intimidating and disorienting. I needed to hear a friendly voice, someone who would help calm me down and tell me everything was going to be alright whether it really would be or not. I called my best friend; my wife.

“Baby,” I sobbed. “I am in trouble.”

The short conversation that followed was full of apologies from me and assurances from her. She assured me, as I had hoped, that it would be alright. She told me she would make the necessary phone calls and find out what needed to be done. She tried to sooth my by then uncontrolled sobbing. Finally, I regained control of myself. I told my wife I would call again as soon as I was able and that I loved her. I made a resolution to be cooperative, truthful and forthright with the police.

As I hung up the phone a female officer came to my car. She introduced herself as the officer that would conduct the crash investigation and told me to stay put. What I did not know at the time is that both officers I had talked to were evaluating me, and that the female officer had requested a DUI officer to further evaluate me.

After a few moments, she returned to my truck window and asked me to step out. Then the question that would shape my world for over nine months was asked.

“Mr. Wisdom,” she queried. “Have you been drinking this evening?”

“I’m not going to lie,” I said. “Yes, I have.”

Read part III of this series here.

uber_logoThe Jax Beer Guy has partnered with the UBER car service in Jacksonville. Because of this partnership, you can receive a $20 credit for your first ride by simply using the promo code “l2jkr” when you register for UBER on your smartphone.

Click HERE to sign up now!

Interested in a career driving for Uber? Click here to learn how to make it happen!

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2015 in News and Events

 

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DUI: The story I can now tell

Last year my life was forever changed. I was arrested for DUI as I was driving home from a beer festival. As a long-time beer blogger and advocate of knowing when to say when, this was devastating. Now that the ordeal is over, I want to tell my story in hopes that my experience will resonate with my readers and deter them from taking any chances when their ability to drive after having a few beers may be impaired.

Dui_screen_capIn an instant everything changed. One moment the street was clear and the lights ahead were green and in the next a car was in front of me and the light was red. That moment, the moment when I took my eyes of the road because a text came across the screen of my phone, lasted less than two seconds, but it would define my life for nearly a year.

It was May 16, 2014 and I was enjoying my slight celebrity at the annual Jacksonville Craft & Import Beer Festival. The event is hosted every year at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena by a magazine I write for and a beer distributer I have ties with.

As the Jax Beer Guy, my role was to be an ambassador and advocate for craft beer and craft beer culture. I spoke with guests extolling the wonders of craft beer, pressed flesh with visitors and represented myself, my blog and the magazine I write for. I also visited with beer company representatives, some old friends and some new and filled in pouring beer at their tables when someone needed a break.

I also tasted beer in two to three-ounce pours throughout the evening. As I walked around, speaking with guests, I stopped at tables to try a sample of new beers and old favorites. I did not drink much. I was not dulled, my speech was not slurred. But, over the course of five hours, the beer in my system accumulated. And, because I ate over the entire time of the event, the absorption of alcohol into my system was slowed.

So, when the event ended, I did not feel that I had had too much to drink. I did not think twice about getting into my truck and embarking on the short 1.5 mile trip home. Little did I know that I would not reach home for more than 24 hours after leaving the festival.

As I turned on to Bay Street I drove past the Maxwell House coffee factory and slowed as a police officer pulled out of the underground garage for the Jacksonville Sheriff Department. I slowed to give the officer room ahead of me and proceeded towards home.

Just a couple of blocks later, the screen on my phone lit up and, after checking to see that the lights were green ahead of me, looked down to see the text that had caught my attention.

And then, my life changed.

I looked back up and suddenly, the light that I had thought was green was actually red and the patrol car was in front of me. I slammed on the breaks, but it was too late. I crashed into the police vehicle causing the trunk of the car to buckle upward.

I looked up again and the light that I had thought was the green light was actually one of the green lane indicator lights. Several years ago, the City of Jacksonville had lights installed above the lanes of bay Street to indicate travel lanes. The lanes were made to be reversible so that traffic from Jaguar games could be routed in on all four lanes before the game and reversed after the game. The lights are situated mid-block and, from the higher perspective of my truck, were situated slightly below the intersection signal lights. Further, the lights on Bay Street are sequenced in such a manner that multiple green lights – including the lane marker lights – are visible down the street at the same time.

In seconds the reality of the situation set in; I had just rear-ended a police car coming home from a beer festival, my clothes smelled like beer from pouring and I was wearing a shirt with my name embroidered above one pocket and ‘Jax Beer Guy’ above the other. I was in trouble and life was about to become very complicated.

Read part II of this series here.

uber_logoThe Jax Beer Guy has partnered with the UBER car service in Jacksonville. Because of this partnership, you can receive a $20 credit for your first ride by simply using the promo code “l2jkr” when you register for UBER on your smartphone.

Click HERE to sign up now!

Interested in a career driving for Uber? Click here to learn how to make it happen!

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2015 in News and Events

 

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Winter months bring highest average level of inebriation study says

Photo: Jeffrey Smith/Creative Commons

Photo: Jeffrey Smith/Creative Commons

Beer, as everyone knows, is an alcoholic beverage and as such, if consumed too heartily, can lead to inebriation. For a serious beer-lover, one who enjoys the flavors of a well-crafted beer along with the company of good friends, drunken stupor is not the goal. Nonetheless, during the months of December through March, becoming legal pissed (that’s British for drunk), is a far too common occurrence.

Sure, a few pints with friends along with a good meal is just the thing to end a long work week with or celebrate a momentous occasion, but drinking to excess is just senseless – and an appalling waste of good beer. Take these startling statistics for instance:

During the winter months of December through March, the average Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is higher than any other time of the year. The legal threshold that determines impairment is 0.06%.

  •  The average BAC is above 0.06% nearly 75 percent of days during this time period; the rest of the year, the average BAC is above 0.06% only 50 percent of days
  • More than five out of every seven days have an average BAC above 0.06%

These figures are not just pulled from a hat, BACtrack a company that produces personal and professional breathalyzers used data culled from apps associated with their products to find out just how drunk we are in the United States.

What they found, in addition to the above data, is that 14 of the 15 biggest drinking days of the year, all of which have an average BAC of 0.08% or higher, fall between December and March.

  • The days with the highest average BACs include: December 6th and 7th (0.087% and 0.088%); New Year’s Eve (0.094%); January 18th and 19th (0.090% and 0.088%) and January 25th (0.093%); Super Bowl Weekend – February 1st and 2nd (0.090% and 0.091%) and February 15th – the day after Valentine’s Day (0.092%); March 7th and 8th (0.088% and 0.088%) and St. Patrick’s Day Weekend – March 14th and 15th (0.087% and 0.094%)
  • The only other day out of the entire year with an average BAC of 0.08% or higher in 2014 was the Saturday before Cinco de Mayo – May 3rd (0.090%)

In addition to the press release below, BACtrack has also created several interactive websites to help illustrate the areas of the country and days of the year that have the highest average levels of inebriation.

Please enjoy craft beer responsibly and never drink and drive. If you have had too much to drink, call a cab or alternative means of transportation (see bottom of article for an offer from The Jax Beer Guy and Uber).

To explore the sites go to:

Full Press Release

 SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – December 18, 2014 – According to a new report just released by BACtrack®, the leader in personal and professional-grade breathalyzers, December through March is the peak drinking season in the United States, with the average BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) level above the legal limit over 35 percent of the time. The data was gleaned from nearly 300,000 unique BAC tests that were collected anonymously from users of BACtrack Mobile and BACtrack Vio smartphone breathalyzers. Notable insights are detailed below and the full results, including interactive data, can be viewed here.

“Our goal is to shed light on alcohol consumption habits so consumers can make smarter decisions when drinking,” said Keith Nothacker, president of BACtrack. “We hope this report will make consumers more aware of how much alcohol they consume when at a bar with friends or while drinking eggnog at a holiday party so they can ultimately stay safe.”

Drinkers Stay Warm with Alcohol: Most Alcohol Consumed During Winter Months

BACtrack found that between December 1st and March 31st, the average BAC is higher than any other time of the year.

  • The average BAC is above 0.06% nearly 75 percent of days during this time period; the rest of the year, the average BAC is above 0.06% only 50 percent of days
  • More than five out of every seven days have an average BAC above 0.06%

What makes this particularly interesting is that research shows drinkers are “buzzed” and experience stimulating effects such as increased energy and self-confidence when they have a BAC of 0.055% or lower. At 0.06%, drinkers reach peak stimulation and the euphoric effects of alcohol take place. Once they surpass the 0.06% threshold (called the “Point of Diminishing Returns”), the depressant effects of alcohol, such as fatigue, lack of balance and poor coordination, begin to kick in and drinkers are more likely to appear “drunk” to those around them. They are also more likely to have horrible hangovers.

BACtrack also found that 14 of the 15 biggest drinking days of the year, all of which have an average BAC of 0.08% or higher, fall between December and March.

  • The days with the highest average BACs include: December 6th and 7th (0.087% and 0.088%); New Year’s Eve (0.094%); January 18th and 19th (0.090% and 0.088%) and January 25th (0.093%); Super Bowl Weekend – February 1st and 2nd (0.090% and 0.091%) and February 15th – the day after Valentine’s Day (0.092%); March 7th and 8th (0.088% and 0.088%) and St. Patrick’s Day Weekend – March 14th and 15th (0.087% and 0.094%)
  • The only other day out of the entire year with an average BAC of 0.08% or higher in 2014 was the Saturday before Cinco de Mayo – May 3rd (0.090%)

Highest BACs? East Out Drinks West

When it comes to the highest average BACs for the month of December, the top five cities and states fall on or to the east of the Mississippi River.

  • The cities with the highest average BACs include: Waltham, Massachusetts (0.133%); Jersey City, New Jersey (0.132%); Champlin, Minnesota (0.124%); New Orleans, Louisiana (0.123%); Greenville, South Carolina (0.111%)
  • The states with the highest average BACs include: Iowa (0.122%), Arkansas (0.113%), Alabama (0.112%), Maine (0.107%), and Tennessee (0.106%)

When it comes to the lowest BACs, every region is covered.

  • The cities with the lowest average BACs include: Brighton, Colorado (0.006%); Walnut Creek, California (0.013%); Huntington Beach, California (0.013%); Columbus, Ohio (0.014%); Redwood City, California (0.015%)
  • The states with the lowest average BACs include: Mississippi (0.026%), New Hampshire (0.029%), Wyoming (0.031%) and New Mexico (0.036%)

This is the second Alcohol Consumption Report BACtrack has released that provides insights into drinking habits throughout the U.S. You can view the first report here.

Methodology

Data was collected anonymously from users of the BACtrack app, which syncs with both the BACtrack Vio and BACtrack Mobile smartphone breathalyzers, and represents nearly 300,000 unique BAC tests collected over 13 months. Data used in the report was collected from users with location services turned on and does not represent data from all users.

About BACtrack

San Francisco­‐based BACtrack is the U.S. leader in breathalyzers, offering a full range of innovative products for both personal and professional use. Founded in 2001, BACtrack helps people monitor their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and make informed decisions about alcohol consumption. In 2013, BACtrack launched BACtrack Mobile, the world’s first smartphone breathalyzer that uses police­‐grade fuel cell sensor technology and Bluetooth connectivity. It has since won Popular Science’s 2013 ‘Best of What’s New’ Award for its innovation in health, and an Edison Award for Industrial Design. BACtrack breathalyzers are available in 20 countries and at over 15,000 store locations, including Walgreens, Costco and Best Buy stores, and can be purchased online at Amazon, Walmart.com, and Target.com. BACtrack products have been featured on Oprah’s All Stars, The Dr. Phil Show, The Doctors, and MythBusters. Connect with BACtrack via Twitter and on Facebook. For more company information, visit www.bactrack.com.

uber_logoThe Jax Beer Guy has partnered with the UBER car service in Jacksonville. Because of this partnership, you can receive a $20 credit for your first ride by simply using the promo code “JaxBeerGuy” when you register for UBER on your smartphone.

Click HERE to sign up now!

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2014 in Beer Education

 

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