Drunk drivers are often out of place on the road. Sometimes they’re in the opposing lane, or over the curb. Some, though, are really out of place.
Recently RCMP picked up a man on Highway 1A, west of Calgary for drunk driving. He was comparatively easy to spot: the road had been closed off for Stage 1 of the Tour of Alberta 2016 bike race.
So the driver in question was the only car on the road. Everything else was foot-powered.
A test revealed that the 19-year-old driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit almost twice the legal limit. Fortunately no one was hurt; a car-bicycle encounter could have been disastrous.
Drunk driving in Alberta results in immediate administrative penalties: licence suspension and a 3-day vehicle seizure. If convicted, an offender must install an ignition interlock, a device which prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.
With immediate suspension, vehicle impoundment, and a strong ignition interlock program, Alberta is tougher on drunk drivers than most provinces.
There are a number of reasons why the car might have been out there, and all of them involve the effects of alcohol:
The driver might not have seen the sign – alcohol impairs vision
He might have thought he could get away with it – alcohol lowers inhibition and raises the tendency towards risky behaviour. It also impairs judgement, which would explain what a car was doing in a bicycle race.
Booze interferes with concentration and coordination, so he might have just taken a wrong turn and not known it.
Alcohol can even cause delusions and hallucinations, so perhaps he thought he was on a bicycle.
This time things ended well – no one was hurt. And we’re reminded that a drunk driver, though he or she might look like any other driver on the road, is really in the wrong place at the wrong time.