Teen Impaired Driving

image of alcoholic drink and vehicle keysI spoke to a woman this week who was upset at the way the police had handled the clearing of an out of control party at a residence. Impaired driving was the inevitable consequence of requiring the teens to leave immediately.

She said that the officer should have listened to the teen's reasons for not leaving right away and allowed them to decide for themselves.

I will not discuss the officer's decision, but that of those who placed him in this position.

Legal Drinking Age in BC

The last time I checked, the legal drinking age in British Columbia was 19. Had the law been followed, the majority of the teens at the party would not have been in this situation to start with.

Zero Blood Alcohol for GLP Drivers

The Graduated Licensing Program requires that its participants have no alcohol in their blood at the time of driving. Why would a teen in the GLP choose to go to a party and consume alcohol knowing that they were going to drive away from it at some time during the evening?

Impaired Driving Was Not Required

The officer did not force the teens to get into their cars and drive. The majority of them had two good legs, and assuming that they were parked legally, could easily have walked home and returned to pick up their vehicles the next day. Impaired driving was not required.

They could also have used their cell phones to call for rides.

Blame Also Lies With The Parents

Full blame must not be placed on the teens. After all, they received permission to use the vehicles involved from their parents. I dare say that there is a duty of care placed on the parents whenever they hand over the car keys or sponsor the ownership of a vehicle.

They have a responsibility to try to prevent impaired driving by their teen.

Planning a Safe Ride Home

car full of teens spreading the risk of impaired driving

Planning a safe ride home after the event is even more important than getting there in the first place. Common sense and courtesy toward the neighbours by the party goers would have allowed them to choose their time of departure as the police would not have been involved.

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Have the rules changed?  When I was a teenager (under 19) I purchased multiple vehicles without any input or "sponsorship" from my parents.  They never signed anything, and in at least one case never even knew I had purchased the vehicle!  

Yes they have to approve getting your initial license, but once they do that, what the teenager does going forward is mostly beyond the parents' control. 

You don't require a license to own a vehicle! Or a fleet of them. Whether you can drive them is a different matter.