November 2010 Archives

November 22, 2010

Four Loko and Other Caffeine-Alcohol Drinks: Last Call?

Like it or not, caffeine and alcohol are as American as Starbucks and Budweiser. But from now on, consumers looking to dabble in both are probably going to have to pick one vice or the other at a time. Last week, the FDA fired a loud warning shot over the marketing of drinks like Four Loko, Joose, and Core -- alcoholic beverages that contain caffeine as an "unsafe food additive," according to the health agency.

Here are the caffeinated alcoholic drinks affected by last week's FDA marketing warnings (click on a hyperlinked company name to see the FDA warning letter sent to that beverage's manufacturer):

The FDA is warning consumers that "individuals drinking these beverages may consume more alcohol -- and become more intoxicated -- than they realize," and that "drinking caffeine and alcohol together may lead to hazardous and life-threatening behaviors." It's not for nothing that in some circles these drinks are known as "blackout in a can."

On the heels of the FDA's warnings, a number of states have already banned the sale of drinks like Four Loko, including Massachusetts, Oregon, and Washington. And according to, at least one wrongful death lawsuit has already been filed over the safety of Four Loko.

Learn more about unsafe products and FDA warnings in the Dangerous Products & Drugs section of Nolo's Accidents & Injuries Center.

November 9, 2010

Drowsy Driving: AAA Sends a Wake-Up Call

"Asleep at the wheel" isn't just the overused metaphor flavor-of-the-month for politicians these days. According to a new study from AAA it's also a dangerous reality on the nation's streets and highways, one that's more common than you might think.

How bad is the problem of drowsy driving? 41 percent of drivers surveyed by AAA admitted to falling asleep at the wheel at some time in their driving history, and 10 percent of responders said that they had nodded off while driving at least once in the past year.

Being overly tired behind the wheel can pose many of the same risks that come from drinking and driving or talking on a cell phone or texting while driving. In terms of nationwide numbers, drowsy driving causes over 100,000 car accidents every year -- including 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths, according to research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Learn more about causes of car accidents and how to prove fault with Nolo's Vehicle Accidents articles and FAQ.