Impaired driving continues to be a serious issue in Nova Scotia and a leading factor in collisions causing serious injury and fatalities. Although it isn’t advisable for the average person to jump right into the car of someone who is impaired, like the off-duty police officers in Liverpool earlier this month, there is still a lot we can do as a community to help.
STEP ONE – ASSESSMENT
There are two main ways to notice a potentially impaired driver. The first is noticing behavior on the road such as excessive swerving, overly wide turns, extreme speeding up and slowing down, and hitting curbs. The second is contact with an intoxicated individual - be it at a party, parking lot, or in a store, restaurant or bar. If you encounter someone you suspect is intoxicated, be mindful of whether they leave and get into the driver’s seat of a car.
STEP TWO – PLACE THE CALL
Call 911 as soon as you can safely do so. The RCMP has published notices in Nova Scotia saying you are exempt from the cell phone ban when you call 911 to report a drunk driver. The 911 operator will ask you the license plate number of the vehicle, the make and model, a basic the description of the driver (if you saw them outside the car especially) and why you suspect they are intoxicated.
STEP THREE – FOLLOW THROUGH
I recently spoke with a Halifax Regional Police officer who suggested that if you can safely do so, it is advisable to follow the impaired driver at a safe distance until they are apprehended by police. This will help police significantly as they dispatch to the last known location of the driver and attempt to find them.