Top Ten Excuses People Give When Caught Drinking and Driving

The 2008 CounterAttack Drinking and Driving Campaign (a partnership with the B.C. provincial government, the police and ICBC) has compiled the following list of top ten reasons the police hear at road checks that people believe it is safe for them to drink and drive.

1. "I can handle my liquor" - According to police, this one typically applies to the "macho" variety of men who feel their exaggerated sense of manliness enables them to overcome the effects of alcohol. The problem with this argument is that there is no physical evidence to support it. Alcohol affects you no matter your size, or if you are a man or women. The outward affects just may be different for you compared to others. If you consume too much alcohol you will be impaired. It doesn’t matter how tough you think you might be.

2. "I don't want to pay for a taxi" - Depending on the distance you have to travel it could be a significant cost to get home in a taxi. You could instead plan ahead and use other options, such as have a designated driver, transit or arrange to stay at a friend’s home. If no other options are available, no matter the cost of a taxi it is better than taking the risk of losing your license or hurting yourself or others.

3. "Leaving my car overnight is a hassle" - Going back to the bar or party location the next day can be a hassle, but it pales in comparison to hainvg your car impounded by police.

4. "I always make it home after a few" - Each year in British Columbia, approximately 120 people don't make it home due to alcohol related crashes. The drivers who survive those collisions often tell police afterwards that they had very little to drink and really didn't think they were impaired, despite the fact their blood-alcohol levels were well over the legal limit. Impairment begins with the first drink and you do not always know how impaired you are.

5. "It's only a short drive home" – No matter the distance, a police road check could be anywhere. If you live close by, pay for a taxi instead.

6. "I'm OK to drive" – If you have consumed even one alcoholic drink you have already impared your judgement. You cannot truly decide if you are ok to drive. So don’t drink and drive. You can plan ahead of time to arrange a safe ride home for everyone.

7. "One more drink won't hurt" - Wrong. Every drink you consume adds to your level of impairment. It doesn’t take many drinks before you realize you are more intoxicated then you believed.

8. "They only take your licence if you're drunk" - Imagine for a moment that every person at a sold-out Canucks game has their licence suspended and their car impounded. Then imagine that same arena filled to capacity for another game - and once again, every person in the building has their licence suspended and their car impounded. That's the approximate number (more than 38,000) of drivers each year in British Columbia who are caught by police when their ability to drive is affected by alcohol or drugs. Like the sign says at GM Place: "If you drink, don't drive."

9. "I'm more careful after a couple" – You might think that, but it isn’t true. Alcohol affects your reaction time, decision-making, coordination and visual functions; your ability to steer, track moving objects and brake appropriately; and your ability to control your speed and lane position. The more you drink, the worse you drive.

10. "I wasn't drinking I only smoked a joint" - Studies have shown that "stoned" drivers who have taken drugs other than alcohol (such as prescription drugs, cannabis, or cocaine) can be every bit as dangerous as a drunk driver. New legislation in BC now allows police to test drivers they suspect may be drug-impaired; if are convicted under the legislation you face the same penalties as drivers convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol.

SO REMEMBER:

If you are caught drinking and driving you could...

  • Have your vehicle impounded for 24 hours
  • Be prohibited from driving for 24 hours
  • If you refuse or fail a Breathalyzer test you could be prohibited from driving for 90 days and be charged with a Criminal Code Offense

If you are convicted after being charged with a Criminal Code Offense you would...

  • Pay more for car insurance
  • Be prohibited from driving for at least a year
  • Be forced to take a drinking and driving rehabilitation program
  • Possibly have an ignition interlock device installed in your car
  • If you drive while your licence is prohibited or suspended your car is impounded for a minimum of 60 days. You could also face a $500 fine, more driving prohibitions or even jail time

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