How many people head out into the back country for a little motocross or ATVing on the weekends? In the summer, it’s a right of passage for outdoor enthusiasts to load up their bikes and quads and spend some time ripping up the dirt, and it’s all good fun until someone gets hurt.
According to the Injury Prevention Center at the University of Alberta School of Public Health, people aren’t just getting hurt on their ATVs, they’re getting killed. The reason why is even more disturbing: more than half of the ATV drivers killed in Alberta have been drinking and driving.
Drinking while camping or spending time in the back country is nothing new, but when you mix drinking with a motor vehicle of any kind, you have potential trouble on your hands. People tend to forget that ATVs are also classified as motor vehicles, so they have a few drinks, drive across unfamiliar terrain, and suffer serious injury or death.
The Injury Prevention Centre started tracking ATV stats in 2002, and they’ve said that 149 ATV drivers were killed in 2013 alone. Out of the 130 tested for alcohol, 55% had alcohol in their blood stream. 51% had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the warn range of .05,while 42% were over .08 and considered legally too drunk to drive.
In Alberta, if you’re caught drinking and driving on any type of motor vehicle and your BAC is in the warn range of .05 to .08, you’ll receive an immediate 3-day driver’s license suspension and an immediate 3-day seizure of your vehicle. That means if you drove a vehicle and towed your ATV into the back country, you won’t be able to drive your vehicle home.
If you’re stopped driving your ATV with a BAC over .08, you’re subject to the exact same impaired driving laws as anyone in any other type of vehicle including:
- Criminal charges of impaired driving
- Immediate license suspension that won’t be lifted until your criminal charge is resolved
- Your vehicle seized for 3 days
- Mandatory ignition interlock requirement for 1 year upon criminal conviction
Drinking and driving on an ATV, just like any motor vehicle, is dangerous. Stay safe when you’re out having fun on your quad and leave the alcohol at home.