Tim Schewe

Drivesmart column: If you drink, don’t drive

10,787 alcohol related tickets were given to people in B.C. between January and August 2021

By Tim Schewe

Whoosh! Here comes a car overtaking my police vehicle at 144 km/h in the posted 110 km/h zone. It’s dark at 11:30 p.m. and at that speed, any animal or object on the road won’t be identified in time and a collision is almost sure to occur.

Just One Drink

The unsafe speed was only the beginning of the story. “Sir, may I have your licence and registration please?” Sniff, sniff. “How much alcohol have you had to drink today?” “One beer is all I had,” was the reply.

Roadside Screening

The roadside screening device said otherwise though. The driver blew a warn, meaning that his blood alcohol level was between 60 and 99 mg%. He was issued a speeding ticket, an Immediate Roadside Prohibition and his vehicle was impounded.

Police may now test any driver for the presence of alcohol in their body as part of Canada’s mandatory screening law. It is no longer necessary to develop a reasonable suspicion in order to demand breath samples at the roadside.

My Passenger is Sober

“Can the passenger drive? He’s sober.” “Sure, but you won’t mind volunteering a sample, no strings attached, to show me that you are sober, would you?” He does, and he blows a warn as well.

“But I haven’t had anything to drink!” “Sir, the device measures alcohol. It won’t read anything unless you have been drinking.” “Well, I had a glass of wine with dinner, but it’s not like I drank a case of beer or anything.”

There are two things wrong with this statement. If the passenger was sober, they should have been driving. A sober passenger is also foolish to accept a ride from an impaired driver.

We All Know Better

I’m a breath testing technician. I know that for these two men to register a warn it takes more than the consumption of one beer or one glass of wine.

The driver was lying to me and the passenger doesn’t know the difference between impaired and drunk. I don’t want to share the highway with either one of them.

Many People Still Drink and Drive

A total of 10,787 Immediate Roadside Prohibitions, Administrative Driving Prohibitions and 24 Hour Suspensions were issued to impaired drivers in B.C. between the beginning of January and the end of August this year.

Impaired drivers are responsible for an average of 65 traffic fatalities in B.C. each year.

The Solution to Drinking and Driving

The bottom line here is still if you drink, don’t drive, and if you drive, don’t drink. Simple.

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement. To comment or learn more, please visit DriveSmartBC.ca