Driving under the influence is the act of driving a vehicle with blood levels of alcohol in excess of a legal limit. Legal limits may vary or change. As of August 1st 2010 Ontario enforced a new law which states that all drivers aged 21 and under must have a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of zero. For drivers aged 22 and higher, there is a “warn range” of blood alcohol concentration which is from 0. 05-0. 08%. Drivers who register this BAC lose their license at roadside for 3, 7 or 30 days. Consequences also get tougher for repeat occurrences.
If you drive impaired and your BAC is above 0. 08%, or you fail or refuse to comply with alcohol or drug testing, you can be convicted under the criminal code and Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act. But how does a driver get pulled over by a police officer in the first place? Before a police officer can pull over and conduct a traffic stop on a driver they must have a probable cause that the driver did or is committing a traffic violation. Next, if the officer suspects that the driver is intoxicated he can request that the driver perform what is known as the field sobriety test.
The purpose of the test is to detect possible impairment and establish a probable cause for arrest. The test can be carried out through various procedures. It can be a walk and turn test, standing on one leg test or the rhomberg balance test, where the driver is to close their eyes while standing straight and tilting their head back for 30 seconds. The officer will be looking for obvious signs of difficulty from the suspect such a loss of balance, inability to stand still, body and eyelid tremors, swaying and muscle tension.
If the police officer gathers enough evidence to give the driver probable cause to arrest a suspect for suspicion of driving under the influence then the suspect will be read his miranda rights and taken to the police station. At the police station the suspect will be required to perform a chemical test by giving a sample of breathe, urine or blood. It is a criminal offence to refuse chemical test and the cost is immediate loss of driver’s license for a period that is later assessed.
Other field sobriety tests can include finger tapping, hand clapping, counting backwards, or reciting the alphabet, but this is not the only type of test exists. There is also the PAS test, which stands for preliminary alcohol screening. It is another roadside test during which the suspected drunk driver will be instructed to blow into a handheld breathalyzer that will detect the driver’s blood alcohol concentration/consumption. Depending on the BAC displayed, the police officer can either let you go or press charges and suspend your license. Being convicted of a DUI is a very serious charge. You will have a permanent mark on your criminal record.
You’re career can also be affected as you may lose your job or be denied future employment. Also, because you are forever labeled as high risk, you may be unable to visit certain countries and your insurance may cancel your policy. Due to the severity of the consequences for impaired driving it is wise to find a trustworthy legal representative to help you fight the DUI charges and even reduce or drop them. Those are all the ways that drunk driving affects an individual, but much harm occurs to other people as well.
Drunk driving is the number one killer of teenagers and young people. Since teens and young adults are both the most inexperienced drivers, they are involved in most alcohol related crashes. Teenage drunk driving kills eight teens every day. In 2003, 31% of teen drivers who died in car accidents had been drinking. Studies have shown that the average boy takes his first drink at age 11 and girls at age 13. Teenagers who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to be dependent on alcohol as adults then those who do not begin until age 21.
Teens take up most of the population of drinkers and drivers, which is why many young people are being killed in car accidents all over the world. There are also myths about alcohol that many people believe to be true. Many people believe that cold showers, fresh air, or hot coffee can help to sober a person up. However, only time can sober a person. It takes the body about an hour to eliminate the alcohol from one’s system. Another myth states that eating a big meal before you drink keeps you sober. This is not true.
It will only delay the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream, not prevent it. Also, many believe that switching between beer, wine, and liquor will make you drunker. Mixing these drinks may make you sicker, but not more intoxicated. Another very dangerous myth states that drinking with someone who is drunk can be safe because they drive extra carefully so that they do not get pulled over. Drinking and driving is extremely dangerous. The driver may think that they are able to drive, but they really are not.
One needs to be careful about the myths they may hear as it can lead to serious consequences. Instead of worrying about how much you can drink or what you should do prior to it so that you don’t get caught drinking and driving, the simpler and wiser alternative is to not drink at all. When you ask yourself if a few drinks is worth someone’s life being at stake you should be able to make the right choice to never get behind the wheel drunk. Instead, arrange a ride like a taxi or sleep over at a friend’s house. Be a safe driver or do not drive at all.
Sources December, 29, 2012. Impaired driving. Ontario Ministry of Transportation. Retrieved August 18th, 2012 from http://www. mto. gov. on. ca/english/safety/impaired/ May, 23, 2012. DUI police stop. DUI. drink driving. org. retrieved August 18th, 2012. From http://www. dui-usa. drinkdriving. org/dui_dwi_information. php Prof. David J. Hanson, Ph. D. no date. Alcohol: Problems and Solutions. Retrieved August 18th, 2012 from http://www2. potsdam. edu/hansondj/DrinkingAndDriving. html/ “Alcohol: Myths and Truths. ” Check Yourself. n. d. Webs. 17 July, 2012.