Think about getting home, not just how to get to a party, when you will be drinking

Teen impaired driving

I spoke to a woman this week who was upset at the way the police 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 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 the position.

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.

The Graduated Licensing Program requires 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 they were going to drive away from it at some time during the evening?

The officer did not force the teens to get into their cars and drive. The majority of them had two good legs, and assuming 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.

All the blame, however, must not be placed on the teens. After all, they received permission to use the vehicles involved from their parents. I dare say 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 teens.

Planning a safe ride home after an 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.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

More Behind the Wheel articles

About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

To comment, please email

To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories