The Highway Traffic Act at mga bagong dating - Part 3
By Constable Rey Olazo
Isa na namang malamig na buwan ang lumipas papalapit nang papalapit sa tag-init. The ground hog saw its shadow meaning warm weather is just around the corner. Sa aking dalawang magkasunod na column, nawa’y kinapulutan ng ating mga kababayan ng makabuluhang information na makakapagdulot ng kaligtasan sa pagmamaneho and sparing ourselves from the cost of fines incurred from these traffic rules violations.
Pagdating ng tag-init ay masarap na namang mamasyal sa loob at labas ng Winnipeg. Marami sa atin ang makakalimot kung paano maging maingat sa pagmamaneho dahil wala na ang kinatatakutang madulas na kalye. Kaya paalala lang sa ating mga kababayan na ang pag-iingat ay hindi lamang kapag madulas ang kalye kundi sa tuyo at maayos na kondisyon din. Malimit sa mga fatal motor vehicle collisions ang dahilan ay hindi mechanical error kundi driver’s error o kawalan na pag-iingat na nagdudlot ng pagkawala ng control sa sasakyang minamaneho. Ang nasabing driver’s error ay nagmumula sa maraming factor pero kalimitan ay kawalan ng concentration sa pagmamaneho, baguhang driver at ang malimit ay impaired driving condition.
Tayong mga Pilipino, kapag malamig o di kaya’y mainit ang klima at kapiling natin ang ating mga kamag-anak at kaibigan ay nagdudulot ng masarap na kuwentuhan na nagpapatamis ng lasa ng ating iniinom na alak. There are times we forget the fact that we have to drive home together with our family. Marami sa atin ang malakas ang loob dahil sa katwirang ilang kalye lang naman ang mamanehohin pauwi. Ang nasabing pananaw ay mali dahil malimit itong nagbibigay ng problema at sakuna sa kalye. In Canada, drinking and driving cannot be put together. There are people who have high tolerance to alcoholic drinks but there are those who have minimal tolerance at kung minsan depende rin sa condition ng ating katawan. Kung kaya’t masasabi natin na there is no clear and fast rule to determine the amount of booze that a person can drink in order to be impaired.
The Criminal Code of Canada defines Impaired Driving in Section 253 as:
Every one commits an offence who operates a motor vehicle or vessel or operates or assists in the operation of an aircraft or of railway equipment or has the care or control of a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment, whether it is in motion or not,
(a) while the person’s ability to operate the vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment is impaired by alcohol or a drug; or
(b) having consumed alcohol in such a quantity that the concentration in the person’s blood exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred millilitres of blood.
Kung ating lilimiin ang nasabing batas, makikita natin na hindi lamang alcohol ang maaaring maging dahilan ng pagiging impaired kundi pati ang droga, which is of course a no brainer. The key issue is that the person’s ability to drive is impaired. The amount of alcohol or drugs an individual has consumed is irrelevant and as a result, a person can be convicted of impaired driving even if his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is below the legal limit of 0.08. Ano ba itong 0.08? This is the amount of alcohol nasa ating dugo na nagiging dahilan ng impairment. Base sa scientific studies, kapag ang isang tao ay mayroong 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, ito ay makakasama sa kaniyang mental and motor skills. Sa nasabing batas, hindi lamang pagmamaneho kundi maging ang pagkakaroon ng care or control of a motor vehicle. Meaning if the police found you intoxicated behind the steering wheel of a parked motor vehicle you can be charge for impaired driving as well.
Ano ba ang mga consequences of impaired idriving? Conviction under Section 253 can result in fines, driving prohibitions and jail time. While the Criminal Code offences are established federally, enforcement, apprehension, prosecution and application of penalties fall within provincial and territorial authority.
First offence: $1,000 fine and a one-year driving prohibition
Second offence: 30-day sentence (jail time) and a two-year driving prohibition
Subsequent offence: 120-day sentence and a three-year driving prohibition
Here in Manitoba, if the Police reasonably believe that a driver has a BAC of more than 0.08, the vehicle will be impounded for 30 days. If the driver failed or refuse to provide a sample or to take a standard field sobriety test, or has a BAC of equal or more than 0.16 (twice the maximum BAC), the vehicle will be impounded for 60 days. All impoundment and warehouse costs are at the expense of the vehicle owner.
Ang Section 253 ay isa lamang sa pitong section ng Criminal Code of Canada na nagsasaad ng violation at penalty tungkol sa impaired driving kung kaya’t mas makakabuti sa atin na huwag sumubok na magmaneho nang nakainom. Para naman sa mga baguhang driver, it is a must for a novice driver or those under the graduated driving class to maintain a zero BAC while driving a motor vehicle. It is better to have a designated driver if you are planning to go out and have a round of drinks or might as well spend a couple of bucks and take a taxi cab.
Next month, your Pulis Kababayan column will discuss the use of cell phones and electronic devices, and motor vehicle collision etiquette.
Constable Rey Olazo is a member of the Diversity Relations Section of the Winnipeg Police Service. He can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For urgent matters that require Police response please call 911 and for non-emergency you may call (204) 986-6222.