If You’ve Been Drinking, Hitch a Ride
After all, is driving drunk really worth risking your life, as well as the lives of others?
Here’s a quick review of some of the legal ramifications of driving under the influence in Alberta:
Immediate license suspension
Whether you’re a repeat offender or it’s the first time you’ve been caught drinking and driving, you can expect to have your licensed suspended for at least three days.
If you receive a DUI, your vehicle will be impounded and held for at least three days and up to seven.
Required Course Attendance
When you’re caught driving drunk, your penalty will require that you attend either a “Planning Ahead” course or an “Impact” course.
Breathalyzer Ignition Unit
If you are criminally convicted, the province of Alberta requires that an ignition interlock system be installed on your vehicle for:
- One year for first conviction
- Three years for second conviction
- Five years for third conviction
It’s clear from the legal consequences that drunk driving is considered a very serious offence, but your legal record won’t be the only thing that is affected if you receive a DUI. Your work, your reputation and your insurance will take a hit, too.
If you can’t drive because of a DUI, getting to work can be difficult. Explaining a DUI to your boss can be uncomfortable, and looking for alternative transportation inconvenient.
Finding a new job is further complicated by a DUI. Most job applications these days include a section that asks if you have ever been convicted of a criminal offence. Some workplaces even require a criminal background check.
Many employers will refuse to hire someone with a DUI conviction in an effort to minimize risk and avoid liability. Imagine if you accidentally hurt someone while operating heavy machinery on the job; your employer could be sued for knowingly hiring someone with a history of impaired driving. That’s not a risk that many organizations are willing to take.3
Let’s face it—people talk. The way your friends and family members feel about you might shift; your co-workers might begin to treat you differently; even people who you don’t even know might judge you. When you drive drunk, you’re putting your reputation on the line.3
If you get a DUI in Alberta, you can expect to pay up to three times the amount of your original insurance rate for anywhere between three and six years (more for repeat offenders). The only insurance companies willing to give you insurance will be expensive, high-risk providers. You’ll be paying a high-risk rate of about $4,000 on top of your regular rate, plus a surcharge of 50%.
On the other hand, if you have a clean driving record, most insurance companies will offer a discount.
If you’ve been drinking, don’t drive!
Take a cab, stay at a hotel, arrange for a friend to pick you up —or try a designated driving service.
More convenient than a taxi service, a DD service won’t just get you home—they’ll also get your car home so you don’t have to leave it somewhere overnight. Designated driving companies can be pre-booked and offer short wait times as well as affordable rates.
Here’s a list of designated driving services available in Alberta:
- Alberta Designated Drivers: 780-616-7140
- Reliable Ride Designated Driving Service: 780-633-1610
- Dedicated Designated Drivers: 780-819-8175
- Drivers Choice Designated Drivers: 403-216-2630
- Keys Please: 1 – 866 – 586 – 5397 (KEYS)
- Driving Knights: 1-866-586-3222
- DDKingz: 403-407-1715
- Drive Me Home Designated Drivers: 403-980-8811
- We DD – We are Designated Drivers: 403-201-8223
Drinking and driving is never a good combination. Do your part to help keep Alberta’s roads safe—the next time you’re going out with friends, make sure you plan ahead about how you’re going to get home.