If you drive drunk the chances are pretty good that you won’t get caught – this time. Maybe you know this, because you have a good number of drunken road journeys under your belt. There is even a study that shows that a drunk driver who is caught has already driven drunk 87 times. That means the odds are with you on any one night out.
However, that’s not the whole story. Last year 74,000 Canadians were arrested and charged with impaired driving. If you are driving under the influence, you will eventually leave the group that gets away scot free and enter the group displaying mug shots, criminal records, ignition interlocks and other signs that luck ran out. Here are the main reasons why drunk drivers get caught:
- Collisions. Alcohol impairs all the faculties you need to drive: vision, coordination, judgment, attention, even hearing. Even a small amount of alcohol in your system can throw off your driving abilities. And if you do have a collision, a police officer with a breathalyzer will be on hand.
- Roadside checks. All over Canada the police are stopping drivers in places where drunk drivers are known to pass. If you have been drinking and are stopped, the officer will speak with you and judge whether or not sobriety tests are warranted. These roadside stops net a lot of drunk drivers every day across the country.
- Calls from citizens. The number of people who call in to report drunk drivers is increasing in Canada, and that’s a good thing. Citizens realize that there is no good reason for an impaired driver to be on the road, and they feel less and less reason to be a “nice guy” and let the driver off.
- Vigilant police. Cops aren’t dumb. They know where drunk drivers come from: the parking lots of bars, restaurants an liquor stores. They like to keep an eye on those lots and stop anyone who shows signs of impairment while pulling out. They also know how to spot drunks on the road by their behaviour.
- Other infractions. Police are grateful that intoxicated drivers are careless about other things as well. Drunk drivers get caught using their cell phone, speeding, and forgetting to switch on their headlights at night or use their blinkers. Any police officer who stops a driver for one of these infractions will also be looking for signs of alcohol use. And if they find it, the charge escalates immediately.
- Friends and family. If they love you and see you drive off three sheets to the wind, they might call the police and have you stopped rather than see you on a stretcher in the morgue. A surprising number of drunk drivers call 911 to report a parent, sibling, spouse or close friend driving under the influence. And they’re right to do it.
If you have a problem staying out from behind the wheel when you’re under the influence, now is the time to get help. It’s a lot harder and more costly when it comes at the order of the courts – if you avoid death or injury and make it to the courts.