Who do you call if your car won’t start? The cops? Probably a bad idea. Who do you call if you’ve been drinking and your car won’t start? The cops? Definitely a bad idea. Care and control is the reason.
A man in King Township, Ontario wasn’t thinking straight, or didn’t know the law, or both. He called the police for roadside assistance, gave his location, and greeted them in a state that made them suspicious enough to propose a breathalyzer test.
He failed, and was booked.
You might ask how he can have violated the law, since he wasn’t driving? The answer is a concept called “care and control.” According to the Canada Criminal Code, you don’t have to be piloting a vehicle while intoxicated to commit a DUI offence. You can be in a motionless car. If you are impaired, and are in a position where you risk setting the vehicle in motion (you can be drunk and dozing and hit the emergency brake, for instance), you are in fact in “care and control” of the vehicle, and are guilty of an offence.
The most usual care and control offence is to sit in a parked car with the keys while intoxicated. You might not be driving, but you could wake up, and in your impaired state make the decision to drive yourself home.
But the car in this case was not able to start. Would that still count?
Believe it or not, yes. Any risk that the driver might set the car in motion – the emergency brake again – is enough to make the action an offence. Quite a few well-intentioned drivers have been caught thsi way.
Of course, this is just a charge, which may or may not be upheld in court. The point is to understand the concept, and act intelligently: if you’re under the influence, hand your car keys to someone else. Their care and control could keep you out of court and out of trouble.