Oh, I just had a few, I’m okay to drive, we all say. Well 100% of the drinking and driving accidents that take place on today’s roads, happen because we always feel as though we need our car the following day for whatever reason, and we just can’t leave it. We have work the next day, meetings, appointments, or just somewhere to go, so why not take the chance.
My husband I have always been responsible when it came to drinking and driving. Even if it’s one drink, we always used our local designated driving services in our area. One night my husband and I decided to attend a friend’s party and it changed our life forever.
It was a chilly night on March 27th 2010, and my husband and I were supposed to go to my girlfriend’s (BYOB) bring our own booze birthday party. My girlfriend invited us weeks before. The night of the party, I really wasn’t in the mood to party anymore, but after calling my girlfriend, I felt so guilty that I decided not to attend her party anymore that my husband and I decided to go, just for a few hours for support. We decided if we go I will be the designated driver for the night, especially since I didn’t drink anything for a about a month and a half.
When we got there everyone was having such a good time laughing and drinking telling stories, some people were even dancing silly to the music she had blaring in the background. She had a friend that worked the bar that served great strong drinks, any specialty you wanted it was there. We were re-united with old friends that we haven’t seen in a long time. We talked, drank, danced, laughed and even played some games. When we finally decided to leave I was still holding onto my drink that I was served, when I got there a few hours before.
Driving out of her neighborhood was like a maze. I just missed the sign that stated 401 East, so by the time I got to the gas station a few meters down, I made a U-turn in the road. When we approached the 401 ramp at Salem Road, I realized I didn’t have my head lights on. I turned them on as I made my way around that dark ramp and a few minutes later I saw flashing police lights in my mirror. My heart just sank. I thought of all times, we never drink and drive.
Anyways when I pulled over, the police officer made his way to the driver’s side window and pushed his head through. I guess what he was doing was trying to see if he could smell any alcohol coming from my breath. Unfortunately since I didn’t eat anything all day, nor did I eat any of the appetizers my girlfriend served, that alcohol smelt as though it was some strong perfume coming out of my pours. He asked me if I had been drinking and I told him that I had one drink earlier. He then proceed to tell me the reason why he pulled me over… he said he was behind me the whole time from the time I made the U-turn in the road with no lights on. He felt as though I was driving erratically, so he decided to follow me and pull me over. I sat silently, as he looked at my driver’s license, ownership and registration and I thought, I wonder if he could smell the drink I had. I thought to myself I had one drink the whole night and that drink was a very strong, potent rum and coke. Why is this happening, I thought??? He asked me to step out of the car and he wanted me to do a breathalyzer test, because he said, he smelt the alcohol.
I was never so humiliated before, sitting in the back seat of that police car. I felt like a criminal, I felt so dirty. I sat in the back of that police car, and he asked me to blow into the breathalyzer machine. I tried every way not to put my whole mouth around that plastic spout, until he really started to get upset with me. I cried and pleaded with him. A few minutes later my husband came up to the car and tried to plead with him to give us a chance. He said that he understands that I am not drunk and I can hop around the police car on one foot with my stilettos, but if someone else was to hit me on my way home, or if any accident was to happen and it was noted that I was pulled and did a breathalyzer he could get in trouble. “I’m just doing my job sir”, he said to my husband. Unfortunately, I was charged with 0.05% alcohol in my system and got a 3 day license suspension of what use to be a 24 hour suspension. My car was about to be towed to the pound, but I ended up saving that charge and called the designated driving company we always use, they picked us up along the side of the 401, and took me, my husband and our car home.
At Ontario Designated Drivers Inc, we developed a service that would be available to people if they go out for the night and drink. We are not a Taxi service, but an alternative way of people getting home with their car. We will send a driver out to get you and your car home from wherever you are in the areas that we serve.
This experience has brought me to our mission which is to remind people to drink responsibly. Ontario drinking laws are strict; so why take the chance, there are so many things that can happen that can change your life or someone else’s in seconds. Get in the habit of planning ahead, how you and your car are going to get home after your night out of drinking.
The best way of planning ahead is know your options for alternative transportation.
- Prevent impaired driving accidents and fatalities on our roads
- Educate people of the dangers of drinking and driving stats in Ontario and on our local streets
- Introduce companies to our designated driving services and show them how they can take preventable measures when alcohol is served during Christmas Parties, Golf Events, and Award Night etc….