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Eight things you'll want to know about impaired driving

December 24, 2014 - 1:03 PM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - You know your favourite drink, but do you know these eight things about impaired driving? We didn’t until we talked to the RCMP and did our homework with Canadian health agencies, ICBC and the Ministry of Justice. To save you some reading over the holidays, here’s our condensed version.

1. You don’t have to be drinking to get a DUI. Driving under the influence of marijuana or other drugs (including prescription medications) can earn you a ticket. Even without the familiar fragrance of booze or bud, the cops will be on to you. They have drug recognition experts at the ready to determine if you’re impaired.

2. A medical marijuana license does not give you immunity. The RCMP makes no special exceptions for medical marijuana users. A license does, however, protect you from being busted for marijuana possession.

3. The best way to sober up? Time. You can toss coffee, a cold shower and a power nap out the window. They don’t reduce the amount of alcohol in your body or the time it takes you to process it.

4. The best way to avoid getting drunk? Well, you know the obvious answer. But here are a few other suggestions. Eat a meal before or while you drink to slow down the absorption of alcohol into your body. Set a drink limit and stick to it. Nurse that fancy cocktail like it’s the last you’ll ever drink. Keep in mind it takes around 90 minutes for your body to absorb and eliminate one standard drink of 13.6 g of alcohol (a 5 per cent can of beer). Remember, the 90 minutes can vary depending on a number of factors including weight, age, and the strength of your drinks.

5. So you think you can hold your liquor. It can be hard to tell just how hard those drinks hit you. You might not be staggering or have blurry vision, but what you may not notice is impaired judgement, attention span, alertness and ability to multitask—all essentials when you’re on the road.

6. You might not be okay to drive in the morning. Remember what you learned in number four? Ninety minutes per drink to sober up. If you have ten drinks, that’s 15 hours. Who gets that much sleep on the best of nights?

7. The car’s not always the best place to chill out and get sober. You could be presumed in the care or control of the vehicle if you’re sitting in the driver’s seat or have the car running—even if it really is just to keep warm and listen to some music. Better to hang out on the couch until you sober up. 

8. DUIs are costly. You can rack up thousands of dollars in fines, towing and license reinstatement fees, as well as the installation of an ignition interlock system. Not to mention the potential loss of someone’s life.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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