It Looked Like a Drunk Driver to Me

Dog in CarI was driving home from a family event at about 9:30 pm on a recent Sunday night using the Island Highway. The vehicle in front of me drew my attention as it strayed to the right, half way onto the shoulder. We were traveling at about 85 km/h in the posted 90 zone. After a moment the driver resumed the proper lane position but soon drifted off to the right. The direction of the drift did not depend on the curvature of the roadway.

This type of driving behaviour is very familiar to me. It's typical of the alcohol impaired driver and I've had plenty of experience investiging and prosecuting these cases as well as the collisions that have resulted from them.

I settled in to watch as there is no way that I will pass a driver like this one. Far better to keep back and know what is happening than to pass and get caught up in a collision.

It soon became apparent that other drivers did not agree with my thoughts as they passed by this vehicle using the left lane, even when it was obvious as they overtook that driver was weaving into their path.

After a near miss with the concrete barrier at the right side of the road I asked my wife to call 911. I was prepared to follow this driver until I could direct the police to pull the vehicle over and deal with the driver.

I was able to obtain the vehicle's licence number at the first red traffic signal where the driver had come to a stop a full vehicle length past the stop line.

We continued to follow and watch this driver wander in and out of the right lane for about 10 minutes. The 911 operator was able to stay with the call and we kept up a running update of our location on the highway along with a description of what we were seeing.

Given everything that I was seeing, I was fairly certain that if we watched this long enough we would be witnesses to a collision. Taking a guess, I would estimate this driver's blood alcohol content at 240 mg% (0.24) or about three times the criminal limit.

Finally a marked police vehicle overtook us and pulled the suspect vehicle over.

There was little doubt in my mind that this driver was going to be subject to an Immediate Roadside Prohibition and a hazard had been removed from the highway.

I was wrong,

The constable involved called me back to tell me what had happened. The driver was not impaired by alcohol or other drugs, he was having problems with his large dogs. They had been in the vehicle for a long time that day and would not stay in the back seat. He was wandering all over while he tried to push them into the back seat again!

The driver was not impressed with his ticket for driving without reasonable consideration for others using the highway and promised to dispute it.

Transporting animals on the exterior of a vehicle is dealt with specifically in our Motor Vehicle Act, but only with concern for their safety. They must be confined if there is any possibility if they might fall or be thrown from that vehicle.

A common complaint concerns drivers who drive with a dog on their lap. Both the pet and the owner are at risk because of the vehicle's air bags. The best place for the dog is in the back seat wearing a harness to keep them in place.

Comments

Just from interest ...

... did you have a webcam running?

If the guy insists on taking it to court, that should be all the evidence necessary to sustain the charge.

Seems to me that Section 195 might also have been applicable.

Dash Cam

I was driving my dear wife's CR-V which is not equipped with a dash cam. I was wishing that I had been in my truck as that does...

Definition of "Impairment".

This is, in my estimation, a classic case of where the law is an ass.

Your observations and description certainly indicate that the driver was NOT in proper care and control of his vehicle. Had he caused a collision it would have been because his ability to drive was IMPAIRED. The law however, has to define all types of impairment such as alcohol, drugs, cell phone and other electronic gadgets and so on. Each with wording in the MVA about being a No-No. Then there's the grooming, eating and even daydreaming which fall under some vague thing called, "Driving to the common danger" which is tenuous at best because it depends upon an officer's "opinion". It is not something measurable that can be used as hard evidence.

Yes, perhaps a dash-cam might have helped but we have not sunk to the depths of Eastern Europe where they are a requirement of the insurance companies.

The driver in this case may well be scuccessful in having the charge dismissed but the REAL problem remains: He takes no responsibility for driving like a Jackass!

Things like this make us realise why there are recruitment messages on the rear of police cars .....

Driving with dogs

This has nothing to do with this post as far as I am concerned the guy is an idiot.

On the other hand once I had learned to drive and no longer needed supervision our family pet at the time which weighed close to 50kg was my constant companion. The vehicle as far as he was concerned belonged to him and he let us use it as long as we did so with discretion. Your first indication you were pushing the limit was to have two holes drilled into you by his constant staring. The next procedure was to bare his fangs and continue to stare and if you were being a complete jerk the lips curled further with a deep menacing growl. Neither my brother or I ever pushed it farther than that. Neither of us wanted to find out what he would do if we damaged his vehicle. Parents be damned the dog ruled our driving. Maybe our Dad paid him:)

But if you care for your pets the only way to go is with a pet harness. They are held in place and safe. You don't have to worry if you are involved in an accident. Living where I do it is not unusual to hear that someone had an accident and their pet escaped and in their panic have become lost or hit and killed on the road.

We won't discuss the harm that can be done when a dog gets out of the back of a pick-up while still being tied to the bed.

A Culture of Distracted Driving

There’s a culture of distracted driving which has developed and which has nothing to do with cell phones.

I like to refer to the old Ray Kroc saying “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean”. Whole lotta leaning going on on our roads.

A friend has just come back from Italy and loved his driving experience there. You know why you’ll never see people playing with their dogs, brushing their teeth or reading books while driving there? Because you die if you do.

There’s something to be said for creating a sense of urgency for drivers. Instead we’ve made it ok to dumb it down.

Too Many Distractions

We see too many people with dogs (even small ones) on their laps while behind the wheel in motion. Could be distracted driving ticket.

I would like to see more articles focusing on distracted driving by electronics.

Todays high tech cars have centre console mounted displays that allow anyone (including the driver) to play around while in motion; should be against the law.

Some cars even need to have the driver touch a screen to change the radio volume or station; a dangerous practice. Older car radios you can FEEL the knobs without taking your eyes off the road.

I think vehicles are going the wrong direction these days with their gadgetry.

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