The Toronto Star has a “Wheels” section, on it’s own domain, wheels.ca. In this section, every so often they have what they term a “smackdown,” basically a short debate between Jim Kenzie and someone.
Well, this isn’t much of a “smackdown,” but in this video, Norris McDonald argues that vehicles should all come with alcohol sensors which would shut the vehicle down if it detected the driver had too much to drink.
Jim Kenzie on the other hand argues that such a requirement is leading down the road to Orwell’s 1984 and compares a requirement for such a device to being monitored on cameras. Kenzie therefore is not in favour of the idea.
Personally, I think if there is technology to build in an accurate breath analyzer that could measure BAC, then it would be nice to have it as an option, with the ability to remove it if the vehicle is resold if the new owner doesn’t want it. Some people never drink and such a device just wouldn’t be needed in their vehicle.
On the other hand, for those that do drink, having one of these or a built in sensor would be an advantage when you just don’t know if you’ve had one too many. I certainly didn’t think that I had too many when I was charged with Impaired Driving; if I had owned a device that I could accurately measure my BAC, I would have used it and wouldn’t have got behind the wheel.
What is your opinion? Should all vehicles be required to come with a device that detects alcohol? What about costs to have it recalibrated and checked? What if it is installed but is not working correctly? I suppose we can still come to rely too much on technology, which is not always perfect and can be prone to mistakes and failure.
It has now been just over two years since I was convicted of Impaired Driving. As a result, I no longer require the “I” as a “condition” on my drivers license. Not that it matters much in the near future as I still don’t have a vehicle that I can drive. More on that in a bit.
As I wrote previously, I was surprised in June when I discovered that the condition for the ignition interlock was one year from the date that I could get my license reinstated, not one year from when I did have it reinstated. So for anyone worried about that, as long as you have been through the Back On Track program in Ontario, and you’ve met all conditions imposed upon you when you were convicted including paying your fine and any other costs the court ordered, you are eligible to get your drivers license back and from that date, you have whatever time that has already expired to your credit as far as the interlock requirement.
I could have applied to have my license reinstated last August 2011, but with no vehicle to put an ignition interlock in, as well as a dispute which I eventually won with the Family Responsibility Office, there was no point, really. Every month, my full amount of my income was accounted for in basic living expenses too, so the reinstatement fee did not come easy.
And that is part of the difficulty for me, as I own my own business, and although I do not need to drive to work, it is hard at times to get new clients when you can not drive to their location to meet with them. I had thought I might be a lot further along by now, but unfortunately I am not.
Please think about this if you are ever tempted or think (and hope) you are “ok” to drive after drinking: An impaired driving conviction is a life changer – for the worse.
It is still going to cost me some major dollars to get my vehicle fixed up (it is worth fixing in the long run), and I had hoped that I would be much further on than I am in that regard. However, there have been a bunch of other unforeseeable things and events that have also occurred.
I wish I could say that having a vehicle that I can drive regularly is close to happening, but it seems it is still a long way off. And I miss just hopping in the Jeep with my little son in the evenings and spending a few hours fishing with him like we used to be able to do. That is perhaps one of, if not the biggest non-financial problem – the amount of dad and son time doing special things together in the outdoors like we used to has been severely reduced.
So, yes, as I wrote above – let me repeat it: An impaired driving conviction is a life changer – for the worse.
If you’ve been drinking, don’t drive and risk it. It’s not worth it, I can tell you.
The other day, I was having a conversation with an old friend of mine. Of course, the conversation got around to my Impaired Conviction, and my buddy started trading stories with me. I should also point out that my friend, years ago, used to be on the Provincial police force up here – however, it was quite some time ago.
During our conversation, we discussed how policing originally was based on prevention of crime in the first place. I talked about how I had a conversation with another acquaintance of mine who had also been on a police force, and his idea was that every police statistic should actually be seen as a failure of the system, not as something to hold on to to show that police officers are doing their job. It’s an interesting perspective to say the least.
My friend that I was having lunch with the other day brought up an experience he had one evening. He had gone into a pub not far from his house – indeed, it’s within walking distance and he knows if he’s had too much to drink, there is no problem walking home. He’s done it many times.
This particular occasion however, he had only one beer while he was inside the pub, and based on the length of time he had taken to drink it while having dinner, he was absolutely positive he was not even close to being impaired. So, he chose to drive his vehicle home.
Just as he pulled out of the parking lot, and unmarked police cruiser turned on its lights and siren and pulled him over. My friend wasn’t worried and sure enough he blew a pass into the roadside alcohol screening device. The police officer let him get on his way, behind the wheel of his vehicle so he could resume his short trip home.
The incident though, brings up some questions, and perhaps there are legal reasons that would answer the questions better, it does make one wonder about the concept of enforcement vs. prevention. Let’s take a look at some scenarios.
What if my friend really did have too much to drink, saw the cruiser trying to pull him over, but instead of pulling over, panicked? It does happen and as much as anyone can criticize someone who does not immediately stop for a police officer, panic can set in and motivate us to do things we would not normally do. Perhaps my friend, in a state of panic, accelerated – and ended up hitting a pedestrian.
Who would be to blame for that? Now, I’m not suggesting there is no blame on the driver in this situation. But considering reality, it is a possibility. If the police officer was more interested in prevention instead of padding his monthly stats, mightn’t he have done a public service by suggesting to my friend, before he even got behind the wheel, something along the lines of, in a friendly way, “Hey sir – we’re just trying to be helpful – we don’t want to see you have to suffer the consequences of an impaired charge or a DUI – want to make sure you’re ok to drive?” and then offer to let the person find out by blowing into the roadside screening device.
If the person were to blow a caution or a fail, that police officer has just helped to prevent a tragedy as well as the horrible consequences of an Impaired conviction. There is now no need for the driver to go into panic mode.
Such preventative type of actions might save a lot more heartache, if it were initiated.
What do you think? And if you’re a police officer, feel free to advise as to why you wouldn’t do this sort of thing.
It has been just over two years since my accident and impaired driving charge. I have not driven since then, and part of wonders what it is going to feel like when I finally do get back behind the wheel!
Today, I did finally get my license back – and also had a pleasant surprise regarding the Ignition Interlock Device requirement. But first, I could have had my license reinstated in August of 2011, but I did not do that for a variety of reasons.
First is the cost. In Ontario, there is a $150.00 reinstatement fee. One hundred and fifty bucks has not come easily for me in the past couple of years.
Secondly, I had a dispute with the Family Responsibility Office, who send me correspondence advising me that they were going to take enforcement action which included having my driver’s license suspended. At that same time, the Ministry of Transportation had sent me a letter informing me that they were sending me an application to have my license reinstated. That application never arrived and due to what was going on with FRO, I assumed they had taken action.
Earlier this year in March, the dispute with the Family Responsibility Office was resolved, in my favor which I was of course very happy about! One less thing to worry about.
Now, the nice surprise I received today: I had the belief that once I got my license back, I would still have to drive with an Ignition Interlock Device installed in any vehicle I drove for a full year. This belief was incorrect – the ignition interlock requirement is only mandatory for a year following conviction (in some cases only 3 months). So, this requirement will come off my license in August.
I still do not have a vehicle to drive at this point – but it is a good feeling to have a driver’s license, and also to know that as soon as the hard laminated one arrives with my photo on it, I won’t have to tell people that “I don’t have a license” when asked for photo ID, etc. So, just having it back is very encouraging.
It’s been a long, rough go the past couple of years but this is just one step closer to getting the life I want back!
As soon as I do have a vehicle I can drive again, I am going to be getting myself one of these.
You should too.
I am working on getting my vehicle repaired after my accident and impaired charge/conviction. It has now been just over a year since the accident and I am eligible for the new program in Ontario which would allow me a reduced suspension if I can install an ignition interlock device in a vehicle and have it insured. Unfortunately for me, the cost of fixing my vehicle is going to be about $8,000.00. Of course, I could just get rid of the vehicle for scrap but the problem is I have another 4 years of a loan to pay off on it. Because of an impaired conviction, the insurance company that I had will not cover the damages to the vehicle or the loan.
I contacted my insurance broker to get a quote on what it would cost me to get insurance. He recommended that I call “Easy Insurance” at 866-388-3034 or Powell Insurance at 888-378-2223.
My first call was to Easy Insurance and I spoke with a broker there.
Their best rate that they could give me was $6,105.00 per year or $524.02 per month.
Not a very nice prospect. When they tell you that an Impaired Conviction will cost you, they are not kidding.
I called Powell Insurance however they had no brokers available at the time so they will call me back with a quote. When I get it, I’ll update this post.
Death no matter how it occurs, is sad, heart wrenching and terrible. Death at any age is the same. About ten years ago, I watched my father die as he was taken off life support after a serious stroke that left him without any faculties other than his heart beating because of the oxygen being pumped into his lungs.
But, we all find that premature death caused by some accident which could have been prevented, often more heart wrenching.
In 2010, Alex Zolpis was killed in an accident that involved alcohol. At the time, John Tobin, the son of the former Premier of the Province of Newfoundland, was operating a motor vehicle while impaired and ended up killing Mr. Zolpis. Zolpis was a friend of John Tobin’s.
Recently, in an Ottawa, Canada courtroom, Tobin plead guilty to Impaired Driving Causing Death. Tobin, who is only 24 years old, faces substantial jail time when he is sentenced on August 4, 2011.
Tobin claimed he had only one drink, but when a breathalyzer test was performed on him by Ottawa Police, he blew over twice the legal limit.
A few weeks ago, my reminder letter about my final appointment with Back On Track showed up at my girlfriend’s apartment. I was living with her at the time when I had my first appointment and then the one day education program. When I finally received it, I was a bit panicked as the dates they had in the reminder letter had already passed. The letter asked that I call the local John Howard Society that administers the Back On Track program in my area, so I did hoping I was not too late. Visions of “Fail” crossed my eyes when I saw the dates they said they were available for the telephone interview.
I explained to the woman who answered the phone that my letter had been misaddressed and that I had just received it. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when she gave me some alternate dates for my “appointment,” in late May. I’m also thankful I don’t have to make travel arrangements and this appointment may be carried out by telephone.
I need to be ready for the phone call for the telephone interview, and I must commit to no alcohol or drugs for 24 hours prior to or on the day of, the interview.
Another step toward getting my license back – but still not really all that much closer to driving. I still have not been able to come up with the money to get my vehicle repaired (estimate $8,000.00) and even if I can come up with something to do that, I’m still not sure how much insurance is going to cost me.
And my girlfriend is getting tired of all of this. She has been like a rock to me in helping me out – but it’s been stressful on her too. Which only adds more stress on top of stress.
Baby steps. Baby steps.
It is almost a year now since I was in the accident and was charged with Impaired Driving. There are times when life is so friggan frustrating. I am still not sure when I will be driving again, although I could have been driving if I had a vehicle that I could install an interlock device in. But my vehicle is still not repaired – I don’t have the $8,000.00 it will take to repair it.
The other day, I walked about 10KM (6 miles). My feet and legs ached. All to get me and my son a haircut. At least it was not raining, and the weather is warming up in my part of the world.
I look back on this year, and although I realize that driving and drinking is a serious offense, I sometimes wonder if the penalties are too harsh. The financial and personal hardship that results from an Impaired Driving charge are enormous and life ruining.
Anyone that drinks, that is. Unless you are very aware of how much you’ve drank, and have planned ahead, if you drink, you might drive impaired.
A former President of a MADD Chapter has been charged with a DUI. Deborah Oberlin, 48 years old and formerly the president of the now non-existent Gainsville, Florida chapter of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) blew .234 and .239 recently after being arrested by the Gainsville Police.
Before she was pulled over on February 18, 2011, she was apparently swerving in her vehicle and crossing over the lines in the road.
A few days ago, I admitted to myself that I’m addicted to alcohol. It all came after the end of a relationship which lasted just over three years but was filled with tumult. Today, I actually had a pretty good day emotionally, although I’ve caught some kind of flu or cold bug which didn’t make things pleasant and put a wrench into some plans I had. I was planning on walking over to an AA meeting but had absolutely no energy and didn’t think the folk there would appreciate me sneezing germs into their air.
But I have had a lot of time to reflect as well as read through “The Big Book,” AA’s major publication.
As I reflect back, there are parts of me that wonder why I ever let the relationship go as long as it did. There were times when we both would break up with each other, but only after a few days later we’d be back in touch, saying our “I love you’s” and “I miss you so much” and “let’s promise to do this better next time.” But almost on queue – it was actually just about 3 to 4 weeks… there would be some major issue.
The insecurity issues started almost right away – about a month after the relationship – and they just continued. But it wasn’t the insecurity issues that bugged me so much, it was the accusations. I often told her I could deal with insecurity issues; but accusations are devastating. I’ve seen and researched a lot on insecurity issues, but there seems to be very little about how awful false accusations can feel. These accusations were generally based on some “feeling” I was told, usually. And some of them were quite bizarre from my perspective. Near the beginning of the relationship, I had written an article about hearing my son’s band perform. I had been supporting them for quite some time, and one night I drove 5 hours to hear them. They rocked the place, and it was the first opportunity I had to meet my son’s girlfriend. When the band was playing, his girlfriend discovered who I was, grabbed me by the hand, and introduced me to the other band members’ girlfriends – and we “danced” together for about 30 seconds. In my article, I wrote a short sentence about this – how I was grabbed by the bandmember’s girlfriends and they had me dancing. … and somehow out of that, I was accused of “wanting an open relationship.”
It was pretty nutty. I was about 44 years old, and we’re talking teenage and young 20′s kids here, at a bar who are friends of my son. And not was it just nutty, it was devastating to me to read this. Along the way, there were to be many more outright accusations – some of which were just insidious – and yes, angered me. Interestingly enough, I discovered I’m not alone in this feeling of false accusations:
In canadianliving.com, Stephanie Gray writes:
But what if you’ve been accused of cheating? Jennifer Andrade, 28, now happily engaged, previously had a long-term relationship with a man who made such accusations when he learnt she had been spending time with a male friend. “Being accused of cheating on him was almost as bad as if I had found out he cheated on me,” admits Andrade. “I was devastated.”
And it is devastating, and the thing for me was that there were zero females in my life that I “hung out with” or spent any great deal of time. The few that were in my life, which included my business partner was full disclosure to my girlfriend. Most of these accusations, as noted above seemed to be based on “feeling” or what she called her “gut instinct.” Well, what happens when your gut instinct is wrong, and do you simply make accusations based on that? You shouldn’t. I worked for many years in Law Enforcement and saw many times when police officers would target someone simply based on their “gut feeling,” and many times, that gut feeling was totally wrong! I think people like Oprah have it all wrong when they preach, “Trust your instinct.” Or perhaps they are not explaining well enough what that means.
So why did allow this relationship to continue with all of the false allegations? There are several reasons, and may be even more than I list:
1. I loved her: When things were great, they were great! We laughed together, in many ways, we thought in similar ways, she was beautiful, and physically, we seemed right for each other.
2. I hoped: I hoped things would get better. I offered relationship councilling many times over the course of the relationship. I mean, we both seemed to love each other – we’d come back to each other within days of “breaking up” so I figured that I needed to learn something just as much as she did. But even after booking an appointment, she did not come with me. I don’t understand that.
3. The sex was great: Well, it wasn’t super-duper fantastic ALL the time, but it was very very good much of the time. But during some of the more stressful times especially in the past year, it had it’s ups and downs. Stress is definitely not an aphrodisiac.
4. I had fears: What if it WAS all me, and some other guy could make her happy? Is there something I need to learn.. but if so, it’s sure taking me a long time!
5. I had a belief: And this is important to me, especially after going through The Big Book and the concept of a “Higher Power.” I don’t believe in a “Higher Power” that is distinct and separate from the rest of us – that would be almost illogical to me and would require a dualistic approach to The Universe. More on that in a moment, but because of how my gf and I met, and all the amazing coincidences and similarities in our lives, I Believed we were meant to meet and be together. I believed that so strongly, that I ended up giving up time with my sons and on my business in order to try to figure out these “insecurities” and just try to make it work.
As I was reflecting on this, perhaps I had two addictions? An addiction to the relationship along with an addiction to alcohol, and they fed off of each other? When a person gives you little trust and you’ve done nothing to make them have a good reason for being untrustworthy, it’s a personal attack and is devastating. When you are in such a situation, you should run – and that is the advice I used to give to others. But for me, it was different though. Something kept me from ending it completely. And as it went on, the more tumultous it became, the more money and time I spent on trying to make things right… and ended up with lots of resentment and feelings of isolation in the end.
Getting back to The Big Book, it talks of a “Higher Power.” I was brought up in a Calvinistic sort of family – God was Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent but Independent of Man. For reasons that are far too long to write about here and after many years of thinking, I came to reject this – and considered many other types of religious and spiritual points of view. In the end, I believe(d) that all things are God. Everything that is, Is God. Nothing is separate from God, and so it is the energy of the Universe that makes things happen. To this end, I believed that is what was happening when I met my GF.
So I’m a bit stuck on this “Higher Power” thing, because it has let me down (I think).
And, I’m pretty sure I had more than one addiction – I was addicted to trying to make things right with my GF so that we could enjoy more of what was good about the relationship and get rid of the accusations which were often a direct attack on me and something I absolutely abhored and found devastating to me.
So as I think about that, and consider joining AA, will AA simply become another “addiction?” I don’t know.