Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Drunk-Driving Roadblocks Catch Very Few

You'd think that those drunk driver roadblocks put in place by the police would nab a lot of people, especially when they are set up late on a Saturday night.

Apparently that really isn't the case.

Two Saturday nights ago, police did a blitz in Montenergie region of Quebec (an area just south of the Island of Montreal ). Over 130 police from several municipalities including Longueuil, du Roussillon, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Kahnawake (peacekeepers), as well as the Sureté du Quebec set up 22 roadblocks.

They stopped about 8,000 cars and submitted about a hundred drivers to the Breathalyzer type test.

19 people were over the limit and arrested.
Now that's 19 too many drunks on the road, but nonetheless a pretty small number if all things are considered.

Let's break it down.

First of all, there were 22 roadblocks and only nineteen arrests. That means that a minimum of three and probably more roadblocks yielded not one single drunk, over the whole operation!

If these numbers are typical, it means that on any particular Saturday late night, we can expect 1 out of every 400 cars to be driven by a drunk driver.

It seems like an awfully small number, but nonetheless drunk drivers still manage to kill over 200 Quebeckers each year.

It seems that the barricades are more useful as a deterrent, rather than a device to get drunks off the road.

A personal story;

Many years ago my mother (in her 70's) went out to a restaurant for dinner with my aunt and split a bottle of wine between them. On their way home, they found themselves stopped in a drunk-driving barricade. A young policewomen stuck a flashlight into the car and when she saw the two gray-haired seniors decided to have a little fun with them.
"You young ladies haven't been out parting and drinking tonight, have you?" she asked in mock seriousness.
The two seniors shook their heads vigorously from side to side.
"You wouldn't lie to me now, would you?"
"Nooo!" they answered.
"Well..... I think I'll let you go this time..." and then with smile and a pleasant wave she called off the charade and wished them a good evening.
My mother told me the story the next day and swore she'd never drink again. Even though she didn't think she was over the limit, she was seriously freaked out!

Yup, those barricades are are effective!
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