Last month I posted about the proposed .05 alcohol level provincial law coming to Alberta very soon (sometime this month I believe). I had a number of comments, one in support of the new laws. I posted about my concerns with how some people might find themselves in trouble after a couple of glasses of wine and worried about some outcomes. This is the comment in support of the new law: It's a good thing that this kind of law exists. It's also good that somebody thought of first-time offenders too. This way, they're given the chance to rehabilitate themselves, so that they wouldn't repeat the same mistake twice. They can get off with only a warning and everybody could be happy. Of course, now that the holidays are at our doorstep, the predictions of impaired driving incidents are pretty high, but hopefully something would happen and drivers would be more attentive.
Alright,,,, so now I wonder what this person would think of THIS story: SOBER 82 yr old is $6000 in debt so far after not being able to blow hard enough on the breathalyser . I could not believe my eyes when I saw the story on Sun News earlier. I did some web searches before posting and found the above story on Cranbrook's own newspaper site. If this is indeed the whole story, something is very wrong here! Regardless of how the woman said it happened though, she has a hospital blood test on record, done less than 2 hours after her incident with the RCMP, and it shows a ZERO blood alcohol level. If this is indeed all true, WTF? And you don't think this could happen to you?
I never even thought of these ramifications before.... I have wondered about it in the sense that they can pretty much make you blow into a breathalyser anytime they want now because they do not have to see signs of impairment (since the federal level is set at .08, not .05) - they can just decide to check you and say that they suspect you may have had a couple of drinks. It made me think about my mother who is 66 and has had a lot of breathing problems the past couple of years. She went for asthma tests last year and could not blow hard enough into the tube to get an accurate reading. The tech was actually getting frustrated at her and it upset her because HELLO - she was there BECAUSE of breathing problems, why should they be surprised she can't blow the damned asthma tube and ping pong ball?? But my mom is also notorious for turning down the wrong street and this situation could have easily happened to her. Wanna know something else? My mom does not drink either. Like not at all. I think she had a sip of Arbor Mist 3 years ago, and before that she had a glass of champagne sometime in the 90s. But she is on medication that always makes her breath smell sweet. I have commented to her before that she reaks of booze because of it. My boss is on a bunch of medication for a serious illness as well and her breath often smells like she has been into the whiskey - even if she just drank a glass of milk in front of me. So in other words, both of those women could also end up getting pulled over and smell of booze and have to be breathalysed - and then the trouble could start for my mom if she couldn't work the machine. My mom is on a very fixed income and there is no way she would be able to afford such fees as this woman has faced. I would lose my MIND with anger.
But it happened to that 82 year old woman, so how do you know it won't happen to YOUR mom or gramma. Or auntie. or YOU. Is that what we really want from all these rules and regulations? Old ladies paying thousands of dollars for legal moves to get their car and license back when they have NOT been drinking? Geezus. I don't even know what to say about it. I was shocked but I guess I am not really that surprised.
To be fair, I also found a response from the RCMP --- RCMP reaction to this story. While reading through it a few times, I noticed some things of interest - first off, the woman has a letter from the hospital timed and dated at 350am on the same early morning as she was reportedly stopped by the police. I have not seen it in person of course but the woman was holding in several photos and it apparently says ZERO blood alcohol level - if this is true, I would like to know how the RCMP state in the above article that they did some 'calculations' and determined that she would have blown a 'warn' or a 'pass'. How did they figure that out? By taking her volunteered information that she had a mouthful of champagne or wine at dinner, during a toast, and then figuring out her weight and height and hours since the drink, much like the charts I posted about in my first blog about this topic? If her hospital record does say Zero, how did they make their calculation?
Another thing of note is that they said she was lawfully detained. That's because they can pretty much lawfully detain you for any reason these days without proof, can they not? They can detain you for questioning as a witness even if they know you did not perpetrate any crime. They can detain you while waiting for someone else to come along (such as in this story where an off duty officer told the woman that she had to wait for an on-duty officer to come with a breathalyser). They can make you stand outside in the cold for 2 hours while you attempt a breathalyser (or attempt to thwart it, which is what the officer in the article states his staff saw happening). So yup, she was detained lawfully alright - because the police, especially Federal ones, can pretty much make you stop for anything. As I stated in my earlier post - just try turning around in a check stop lineup to go another way home and see what happens to you!
The officer goes on to say that based on their calculations, the woman would NOT have blown a 'fail'. And then he goes on to say ""Regardless of the age of the person driving the vehicle, impaired driving kills people.""
Alright then, but this woman was not a drunk driver, or even a slightly impaired driver, based on their own admissions. The woman says that she was tested 15 times that evening before she was finally issued the punishment. They did NOT get a reading and towed her car anyway. I realize they have trouble with a lot of people being a pain in the arse and lying - but this woman was old and they had her standing outside. They pretty much admit to that because they said she was allowed to enter her home for water and to use the washroom. They did not say that they waited indoors to do the tests. Why not? did it have to be outside in the middle of the night? I don't understand. Maybe the woman is a raving looney for all I know, but what I also made note of is that no one seems to have found a past record for drunk driving yet. How would this old woman know how to thwart the breathalyser machine if she doesnt have a record of problems with the police before? I had no idea until tonight that you could block the tube with your tongue or suck in air instead of blowing in. I've never had to do it, and have only seen it in person twice (both times the driver had not been drinking, FYI).... is there a reason this little old granny would know how to thwart the machine repeatedly and keep herself standing outside for 2 hours with no jacket? Again it is wise to note that the RCMP themselves said that she would not have blown a fail, so she was not impaired and just acting ridiculous because of that...