Cheers to a happy holiday season. The State Patrol is all for that provided you do it safely.
"Holidays are great," says Lt. Tim Carnahan. "Celebrating is great, but if you've had a few too many and get into that car, that's not great."
For one thing, you can get killed, or kill somebody else. You can also be fined at least $700, and even have your license taken away. The cops are hoping they won't have to deal with that much. They're also hoping a new law put into effect will keep people safe.
The one, called the Baby Luke law, is aimed at keeping drug users away from the wheel, and they don't necessarily have to be driving erratically, either. Basically, the whole idea behind this law is that before, police had to prove that your driving was impaired because of drugs, but now that the law is in effect, all they have to do is show that there's drugs in your system. It doesn't matter if you're impaired or not. As long as the drugs are there, you're breaking the law.
And it's named after a case in which a man who ingested cocaine crashed his van into another vehicle driven by a pregnant woman. She had to have a C-section, and the baby, named Luke, died a few hours later of head injuries.
The guy got a two-year maximum prison sentence. If he had been drinking, he could've faced 40 years. Now the penalties for driving drugged are the same as driving drunk.
"I hope it's going to deter people, and if it doesn't deter people, it now gives the courts and prosecutors firm ground in which to prosecute," says Carnahan.