You were at a party, had a few drinks, then you did the right thing, you stayed the night at your friends place. You were responsible right? Maybe not. Drinking driving and the law, are advertised all the time now on TV, billboards, taught at drivers ed and more. All of these ads point to you either getting a cab, taking public transit or staying over at a friends. But none of them really talk much about the morning after.
No one really likes the morning after, when you have been up late and having a good time. You did not participate in drinking driving, you were not binge drinking, but you know you had a few. So, the sun wakes you up, you look at the clock and it is 10 am, you feel pretty good. You rolled in around 2 am, and pretty well fell asleep right away. You reflect on what a good time you had, and think how good you were about not drinking driving and leaving your keys here at your friends place.
Drinking Driving - The Morning After
You have a quick coffee, and now your buddies want to head out for breakfast. No problem, your car is big enough. So, by 10:30 am you all pile into the car and off you go, but you notice a RIDE program (In Canada this is a road side stop to check for impaired drivers, you never know when or where one might pop up.) You are surprised to see them out in the late morning. So, you stop, the officer takes one look at you, and after a few questions, you tell him you were not drinking driving, how you stayed at your friends house, and now are heading for breakfast.
He gets you out of the car and does a road side test and you FAIL. You are totally stunned and amazed. This has to be impossible right? No it isn't.
Drinking Driving - Breathalyzer
Drinking driving is not restricted to that after hours club and everyone going for a joy ride, but in fact depending on your body, and your size, and how many drinks you had, you could sleep for 8 hours and still have enough in your body to blow over and fail the test. These breathalyzer tests are very accurate and the legal limit is very low now, so it would not take much to blow over the limit.
You may think this is impossible, but this story just happened to someone I know. She was up in Cottage country (a couple hours north of Toronto) it was her birthday, she has always been a safe driver and didn't binge drink or participate in drinking driving after any parties. She always arranged to have her friends stay over, and thought of herself as responsible.
Drinking Driving - A Birthday to Remember
It had been her birthday, and instead of going to a pub, they decided to stay at the cottage so that no one got in a car. The problem was her last drink was around 1:30 am, she had more than she usually does, because after all it was her birthday. Her friend woke her up at 10:30 to take one of the friends home and have breakfast there. It was not far, but they got in the car, and she got pulled over for speeding. The police asked a few questions and did a test and at 11 am she FAILED the road side breathalyzer test.
They arrested her, on the side of the road. She said she was mortified. She stood there in handcuffs on the side of the road as people drove by. Her friends could not drive a standard transmission, and so they towed away her brand new car. She had only just started making payments on it. She was so mad at herself. But she thought, like many people do, just because you stayed over and slept your 8 or 9 hours, then got in a car, she didn't think she was drinking driving. Unfortunately for her, there had been many accidents involving drinking driving in that area (every summer this area swells) So, last years, the penalties got even tougher and the legal limit lowered. She may never get behind that brand new car of hers for many years.
Drinking Driving - Lose Your Job
Her job requires that she drive, so she may now lose her job. Drinking driving affects everyone. She was taken to jail and kept there for four hours, while they processed the charges. She sat in a cold cell and cried and tried to reflect on what she had done. She had to finally call family to come and get her and the get the car out of the impound. Her family were mortified as well.
Luckily she didn't hurt anyone else or herself, but in effect, she was doing exactly what she swore she would never do, drinking driving.
The police officer told, her after a night on the town of drinking, it can take up to 12 hours or more from the last drink to be out of your body, and then it depends on your metabolism. After sleeping, you may feel refreshed, and think you are OK, but last night may actually still be with you.
As a host of a party, you have to remember, that with the new rules, you can get in trouble as well, for letting someone leave your house, even if it is the next morning, drinking driving.
You can get portable breathalyzers now, and it may be worth it. Especially if you plan on going somewhere the next morning. If you have a party, and some of your guests kept drinking until bed, then you should not let them drive until the late afternoon the next day or send them home in a cab.
Some of those TV ads, should maybe show someone partying, then getting out of bed and getting behind the wheel of a car, to prove that drinking driving, is not just a middle of the night offence, or after those few cocktails in the afternoon.
My young friend, now has to face the courts, and they are not going to be lenient. They have had enough of drinking driving and its effects here, after many accidents causing deaths, so right now her license was automatically suspended for 90 days, but will likely go to a year or more when found guilty in court. Her insurance company may never insure her again, and usually after a year you have to have a breathalyzer device installed in the car at great expense, that requires you to breathe into it before you can start the car to get your license back. She will probably have to sell the car.
Drinking Driving - Getting Insurance
There are only a handful of insurance companies even willing to insure you after a drinking driving charge or "impaired", and it will cost more than you mortgage or rent. Her life will change, but luckily she didn't hurt anyone else finding out this hard lesson. Until the court date she is not even allowed to leave the country.
Her livelihood, her car, and her life has now changed, because of that one stupid mistake. But it could have been worse. She could have been drinking driving and got found out by being in an accident or worse.
Who knows, just how many "responsible" people are out there drinking driving the next morning?.. There are more and more road blocks being set up in the morning hours now to catch these drinking driving "the morning after" drivers.
So, if you plan to go to a party, or host one, just remember the morning after. It could cost you everything, including your life.. So be careful.