It could have ended much worse. Steven Depatie was driving drunk on Lasalle Boulevard in Sudbury, Ontario when he crashed his car. No one was hurt, fortunately. Mr. Depatie failed his roadside test and was arrested for impaired driving.
Operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over .17, as was the case here, is frighteningly dangerous. That level is enough to be considered “sloppy drunk.” Judgment is compromised, vision and hearing impaired, and reaction time slowed considerably. Dysphoria (anxiety, depression) and nausea are common at this level. When comedians pretend to be drunk, they are usually imitating someone with a BAC of .17 or so.
As a driver, you can probably remember situations in which you had to react fast. Perhaps it was a pedestrian who wandered out between parked cars, or a taxi that stopped short just ahead of you. Think how those situations might have changed if your reaction time had been reduced by half.
Once you understand how dangerous driving at that alcohol level is, “stupidity” is the only word that covers it.
We don’t mean to pillory the defendant in this case. After all, he admits to his mistake, and characterizes it correctly. In fact, we wish that more drunk drivers were as repentant as Mr. Depatie. Even more, we hope that drivers in Ontario and elsewhere will realize that drunk driving is stupid before they do it. That would be smart.