Ignition Woes

There is a stereo type of Australians where they sit around at the beach wearing shoes known as “thongs “ or “pluggers” with an esky nearby full of xxxx beer and a bbq at hand and a ford or Holden or a ute waiting in the parking lot. Whilst alot of Aussies do love their beer and their barbie they aren’t all that into the drink as others are. It’s commonsense to not drink and drive, doing so carries not only the risk of killing or severely hurting yourself but may also take the life of an innocent, law abiding person. In Australia it is illegal to be in the drivers’ seat of a car with the key in the ignition if you are over the legal drinking limit which is a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.05%. If a person is over this limit and sitting in the drivers seat with the keys in their pocket they cannot be charged for this but if they are in the driver’s seat with the keys in the ignition they will be charged no matter if the car is running or not. There is no end to the excuses that drunk drivers give police officers when they are caught. Usually these drivers are caught when they are pulled over for random breath tests and the excuses usually start right then and there. Anything from “I just took some painkillers and I only had one drink” to “I have only had a couple” are pretty common but sometimes these drink drivers come up with more creative excuses and often try very stupidly to outsmart the police officers who are, unlike them, well experienced in the subject and are also sober and clear headed. One rather amusing instance that comes to mind was told to me by a police officer friend of mine.

A service station attended had decided to phone the police after a customer had arrived and filled up their car with petrol and come inside to pay for their purchase. The driver smelt heavily of alcohol and was swaying whilst attempting to stand still. The police were given a description of the car as well as the details of the numberplates as the attendants were powerless to do anything. It was only a matter of minutes before the police arrived on scene and were given the direction in which the driver had gone. After about ten minutes the car was located on the side of the road. The police approached the car and found a gentleman in his 40’s behind the wheel. The man looked at the police and immediately commented “what do you want?” the police officers asked the man if he had been drinking and informed him that they could smell the alcohol on his breath. The man admitted drinking and stated “Yeah but I haven’t done anything wrong, you can’t arrest me for that they keys aren’t in the ignition.” One police officer agreed with the man about not being able to charge him without the keys having been in the ignition.

The man informed the police that he had simply spent the night in his car at the side of the road drinking and had not once started the car. The police officer was interested in this story so prodded the man more asking him “so you have just sat here all night, drinking, quietly with nothing else to do?” the man agreed. The police officers asked the man why he would sit at the side of the road all night implying that the man had an ulterior motive for staying in that particular spot. The man denied this and said “no, I’ve just been sitting here listening to the radio, having a drink and minding my own business.” And little did he know that he had just dug himself a grave which he could not escape. The police officer leaned in and asked “So you have sat here drinking, you are intoxicated, you have not put the keys into the ignition what so ever, you have just sat here listening to music and obeying the law?” the drunk agreed to which the police officer asked “So do you agree that in order to have your radio work in your car you must have the car running?” The drunken man replied “Of course you do you idiot” and the police officer followed that up quickly with “So do you agree that in order to have the radio on the car must be running and in order for the car to be able to run the key must have been in the ignition?” The gentleman realised his blunder and his failure to outsmart the police officer and was taken to the station where he later blew a final reading of 2.35%.

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