Employers opposed to mandatory drunk-driving testing devices

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The penalties for drinking and driving are making it hard for employers.  Employers forced to install the device to their vehicles if the drivers caught under the influence of alcohol while at work.

Taxi companies, trucking firms and even fire departments have been thinking whether to comply with the requirement of installing breath-testing devices on their vehicles or just fire the defendant driver.  It would be easier for the company to fire the driver caught driving after drinking.

Acting superintendent of motor vehicles, Stephanie Melvins, say it does not concern the profession. There are no exemptions to the rule.

Under the law implemented into effect last September, police have the option of handling out 90-day immediate bans to first-time lawbreakers, failing a roadside sobriety test by recording a blood-alcohol level over 0.08. This must be serve to the accused or face a criminal charge.

Not only the drunk driver will pay $500 the offender, but they also need to install an ignition interlock device on any automobile that they are driving.  Also, included in the lists are company cars, trucks and buses.

The device connected into the ignition system, and the vehicle can be operated only once the driver breathes a sample air to the device.  All the drivers using the same car would also be forced to blow into the device.  The driver must also pull over at random intervals so that they could provide another sample to the device, in order for the automobile to keep running.

The new rule got most of the employers by surprised.  Employers are not ready to install a device into their vehicles at it will mean that they have to buy the device for the vehicles.

One of the offenders, who recently got caught, was a firefighter.  Esquimalt assistant fire chief George McGregor had served a 90 days ban prior to the offense, where he got caught driving under the influence of alcohol.  The 90 days ban expired back in June.

Fire Chief David Ward stated on Wednesday that he did not know that there is a law, which requires his assistant to put an interlock device on any vehicle he drives.

Melvin claims that the driver himself is the one that would shoulder the cost of installing the device on any vehicle they wish to drive.

She added that employers may shoulder the expense, but it does not mean that employers’ required to do it.

President of the B.C. Association of Taxi Drivers, Mohan Kang, says companies are not going to put an interlock device on cabs since a taxi driver caught drinking and driving, on or off duty, would be let go.