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Can you drive whilst drunk and get away with it?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Halfhidden, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. Halfhidden

    Halfhidden Untouchable Staff Member Administrator

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    Here's a controversial topic... a taboo in the making.

    Allow me to explain this dilemma.
    If a person is caught drinking excessive alcohol and is stopped whilst in charge of a vehicle they will be prosecuted and have their license taken from them for a while. OK I think most of us agree that that is the right action to take?
    Now if that person continues to abuse the this situation and drinks excessively and drives home they should have their vehicle taken from them to prevent this from happening and they will most likely face yet a longer ban or imprisonment... I'm pretty sure you'll agree with that statement as well?

    What if this person is actually in need of that vehicle?

    I was out the other day and witnessed a man in an electric invalid cart. I remembered that I seen him once before. This time he was in a local pub and was clearly unable to walk because of his disability. However, he was also very drunk indeed. In fact he was asked to leave the pub and after a short burst of abuse he drove off up the high street. I remembered when I saw him last. It was about a year ago late at night in St Clare Street. He was lying on his side in a up turned cart drunk.

    As far as I know its illegal to be drunk in charge of any vehicle... but here are the dilemmas:
    1 He clearly needs this vehicle to complete day to day tasks and taking it from him would violate his right of free movement.
    2 Most of these electric carts do not fall under and legislation and therefore has no licensing... In other words he has no licence to take away from him.
     
  2. treeve

    treeve Major Contributor

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    I have seen that person on a number of occasions, some whilst flat out on the pavement (him, not me). A dilemma, yes, but does the same rule apply when considering a dysfunctional family and the responsibility of caring for children or animals, as it does for healthy families? I believe the criteria should be examined, and the whole issue re-appraised.
     
  3. triton

    triton

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    I see the dilemma,fact is these scooters are not cheap.The tax payer subsidises these motors.I have no qualms heping the disabled.If dysfunctionable how they on them?Secondly,people have been seriously injured by these scooters,some killed due to injuries.I pay taxes to help one and all,but ive seen who we are talking about I worked, with the disabled for 12 years and find the majority really trying to overcome their problems positively.I am a working tax payer who pays for their care.I coundt afford to do this.The person involved should be limited to use of such a vehicle.
     
  4. Halfhidden

    Halfhidden Untouchable Staff Member Administrator

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    Well thanks for the replies guy, but I was questioning the law rather than this person. I'm sure most of us on here know who I'm referring to?
    From where I see it with present legislation you can indeed drink and drive and there is very little anyone can do about it. My main concern is that not only is the driver at harm but he/she is also putting others at harm as well. Often these buggies are not roadworthy as they don't have lights... and although I completely agree with you that they are a necessary and important tool for the less angelic or even disabled... they should have a category and appropriate licensing.
    But as I've already said... even if they do drink and drive you can't take away such a needed vehicle.
     
  5. CHILLYWILLY

    CHILLYWILLY Active Member

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    Although....You can be charged and fined for being 'drunk and in charge of a horse'. I am not sure but do you need a licence to ride a horse on the Queens highway?
     
  6. Halfhidden

    Halfhidden Untouchable Staff Member Administrator

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    @chillywilly as far as I know you don't need a licence to ride a horse on the public highway... yet you do need a license to ride a horse and carriage on a public highway.
    That said I guess they would have to take your horse from you if you were drunk... but would you get it back?
     
  7. missp

    missp Senior Member

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    Yes, I think I do know who you are referring to, and yes I do think that they should be in control of what they are `in charge of '. Whether its licensed or not, they have a duty to respect the public as we have to them.
     
  8. sparky

    sparky Authoritarian Staff Member Administrator

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    This is a very interesting thread, and I agree with what has been said so far,(my opinion) but I do have a question, there are some, not all mobilty carts (as I refer to them) that are very different, but should they hold a road tax licence? Some of them that I have seen have lights/indicators... all the things you see on a car, and are they insured/taxed??
    as I see most of them on the road (not the pavement which I thought they were meant to be used on, unless I am wrong on this)
    now please excuse my ignorance on this, but although this may be classed a motor (ability) vehicle, then surely the person should take a test on riding this vehicle and knowing the signs of the public road as in the highway code? I am not being funny or being inconsiderate but we all (as drivers) have to take 2 tests now,
    therory test (for each bike and one for car/bus etc) and the driving test,which are not cheap at all, what do the people who have these mobility carts have to pass in order to ride/drive these carts?? and what do they pay (if anything)? for a licence to ride/drive these carts.

    But my query is if for instance, if a terrible accident should occur with a mobility cart? (on the road) then what happens with the car driver who has passed the nessesary tests to be on the road and meet with the (cart which should be on the pavement but on the road and has had an accident with it although its not the drivers fault of the car but the person in charge of the cart???)

    although the car driver will have car insurance, just what do the mobility carts have? do they have mobility insurance as well? your thoughts are welcome...remember my thoughts/opions are mine and I hope I havent offended anyone in my thoughts on this thread.
     
  9. treeve

    treeve Major Contributor

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    Mobility Scooters are not covered by present drink-drive laws; however it is possible for a court to consider this in terms of The Carriage Law. Under the 1872 Licensing Act it relates to 'carriage', steam engine, horse or cow. It is open to some interpretation that a mobility scooter could be considered as a Powered Carriage. There is no question that a person's judgement whilst under the influence of alcohol is impaired (some can argue that in specific cases it could be enhanced, but that would require a scientific exploration and series of tests) and as a consequence places the self and others at risk. It is a perversity that a mobility scooter does not fall within the definition laid out under The Road Traffic Act. But it is an offence to be drunk in charge of a carriage ... and that now includes bicycles.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2010
  10. treeve

    treeve Major Contributor

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    Highway Code ....
    Rules for users of powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters (36-46) : Directgov - Travel and transport

    The Law on drink
    First, however, officers (and public) should be aware that an apparent drunken behaviour may be generated from a health disorder.

    Section 12 Licensing Act 1872: it is an offence to be found drunk in a highway or other public place, whether a building or not, or on a licensed premises. Known as Drunk and Incapable (of looking after themselves).

    Then there is Section 91(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 1967: it is an offence for any person who whilst drunk in any public place to be guilty of disorderly behaviour. Known as Drunk and Disorderly (noisy, aggressive, violent, quarrelsome).
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2010
  11. Halfhidden

    Halfhidden Untouchable Staff Member Administrator

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    Yes as I first posted... these vehicles are above the law as it is today. We shouldn't take into consideration that if someone is on drugs and then add alcohol to the mix then in some any this is excusable, because it isn't.
    But my original question still stands... what can be done about it. It would be inhumane to take away the cart and the offence isn't worthy of prison... not at least for the first sew offences.
    I think that clearer legalisation needs to be drawn up to establish what would be the best solution in this case because as it stands right now I still cannot see how someone can be prevented from continuing to use their cart whilst drunk.
     
  12. Tropicgal

    Tropicgal Janner/ Senior Member

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  13. Halfhidden

    Halfhidden Untouchable Staff Member Administrator

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    @Tropicgal that's a very interesting indeed. Although it doesn't quite cover the subject about drinking and driving, it does further highlight the need for better legalisation on these carts.
    What this article points out is that the old boy who was speeding doing 42mph in a 30mph area in a specially adapted car... what the article fails to mention is whether this specially adapted car was the mobility buggy. If it was then he has a good gase because these mobility buggy's don't have speedometers and therefore he could argue that he wasn't aware of the speed he was travelling at. But then again if the article was referring to a specially adapted car, then he has no excuse about the speed. However, he can still drive the mobility cart even whilst disqualified from driving. Furthermore I cannot see anything that prevents him from customising the cart to travel at speed of up to 30mph and driving that on the road.

    Very interesting indeed. Thanks for posting this up....
    Anyone else?
     
  14. symons55

    symons55 Moderator Staff Member

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    There was an item on one of those Police programs last week, where they were sent to a part of the motorway as there was one of those disabled buggies being driven down the centre carrigway by an 80 year old. The police got him to the hard shoulder, got a lorry and took him and his buggy home. Nothing was done to him even tho he said he'd done it several times before. Beggers belief!!!
     
  15. Halfhidden

    Halfhidden Untouchable Staff Member Administrator

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    Unbelievable!
    I think at this stage I should point out to anyone reading these threads that we are not knocking these buggies. We all know very well what an important part of mobility these vehicles play in peoples lives.... What we are doing is exposing the need for better legislation to control the use of them for the safety of the user and the general public.
    @S55 that story once again highlights the dangers that people using these buggies get them selves in. A buggy is no match for a car or lorry even at a few miles an hour. It terrifies me when I see these buggies negotiating some extremely fast moving traffic in a buggy that travels not much faster than 8mph.

    Another point is that I cannot determine if they need to have insurance to use them on the road. If not who pays for what when an accident happens?
     
  16. treeve

    treeve Major Contributor

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  17. Halfhidden

    Halfhidden Untouchable Staff Member Administrator

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    @ treeve... Ouch!
    Yes we all know that drink impairs decision making and I think the story you highlighted shows just how sad things can get if you introduce shed loads of alcohol.
    Still alcohol in the right hands is perfectly safe.
     
  18. tabtab13

    tabtab13 Active Member

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    I'm sorry, but did anyone else laugh out loud on reading treeve's BBC News link? It's prime 'Have I got News for You' material. My apologies for this interruption to a serious thread.
     
  19. symons55

    symons55 Moderator Staff Member

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    As HH said 'in the right hands'......................
     
  20. 46traveller

    46traveller Member

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    Alcohol, more dangerous to society as a whole than any illegal drugs. Time people asked themselves the question, "If the government wasn't making a great deal of money from taxes on this product, would they consider it as a dangerous substance?"

    Check out the stats> http://www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/alc0110.pdf

    By the by, the stats on the above page fail to take into account deaths caused by road traffic accidents. Now that is strange, d/ya think there's a reason for that??

    These stats may help in your decision. http://www.bobulous.org.uk/articles/road_traffic_accident.html

    http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/accidents/rcgb08drinkdrive

    As for the guy on the mobility scooter, someone let his tyres down please...........
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2010

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