A Pennsylvania man, arrested on March 19 for driving while intoxicated, wore a St. Patrick's Day "Drunk Lives Matter" shirt for his police mugshot.
Elwood Gutshall, 44, got his DUI citation near his home in Newville, reports The Smoking Gun. Police released Gutshall's mugshot through the department’s Facebook account on April 4, notes The Washington Times.
Gutshall was observed "committing multiple traffic violations" while driving his Ford pickup, cops say. He was subsequently arrested after police determined that he “was under the influence of alcohol beyond what he could safely operate a motor vehicle.”
A test revealed that Gutshall’s blood alcohol content was nearly three times the legal limit, and he was charged with two DUI counts and cited for several traffic violations. According to court records, he has multiple previous DUI convictions, in addition to a 2009 guilty plea to simple assault.
The Centers for Disease Control provides statistics of drunken driving. In 2014, the CDC notes, almost 10,000 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes, which represents nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.
That same year, 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The actual number of drunk driving cases is much greater though, with some 121 million people reporting that they drove while under the influence.
"Every day, 28 people in the United States die in an alcohol-related vehicle crash -- that's one person every 53 minutes," adds the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which provides a summary of the problem:
Alcohol is a substance that reduces the function of the brain, impairing thinking, reasoning and muscle coordination. All these abilities are essential to operating a vehicle safely.
As alcohol levels rise in a person’s system, the negative effects on the central nervous system increase, too. Alcohol is absorbed directly through the walls of the stomach and small intestine. Then it passes into the bloodstream where it accumulates until it is metabolized by the liver. Alcohol level is measured by the weight of the alcohol in a certain volume of blood. This is called Blood Alcohol Concentration, or BAC. At BAC of 0.08 grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood, crash risk increases exponentially. Because of this risk, it’s illegal in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to drive with 0.08 BAC or higher. However, even a small amount of alcohol can affect driving ability. 1,764 people were killed in 2014 is alcohol-related crashes where BAC was less than 0.08 BAC.
BAC is measured with a breathalyzer, a device that measures the amount of alcohol in a drive driver’s breath, or by a blood test.