What Do You Get When You Let Your Unlicensed Teen Drive to Avoid a DUI? … A DUI.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. A Georgia couple decided they had drunk too much after a concert, so they had their 15-year-old daughter drive them home. The daughter had a learner’s permit, so they presumed that they were making the wisest decision.
When police tracked the family down through a license number, the father was arrested for DUI.
It might seem a strange call. After all, the father wasn’t driving. But Georgia law states that the supervisor of a learning driver must be capable of “exercising control of the vehicle.” Anyone who has been drinking is not capable of that control.
From time to time DUI arrests take place in which the one arrested was not driving at the time. A woman in Virginia got a DUI while in the back seat of a car.
A man in South Dakota wasn’t even in his truck, but he was drinking and bumped a gearshift, sending his vehicle rolling into a parked car.
In those cases, the issue was something called Physical Control, the idea that someone who is impaired and in control of a vehicle – even one that is parked – poses a danger and is thus guilty of a crime.
In this case the law was more specific: a supervising driver must be sober and ready to drive at any time. The father was charged with child endangerment as well as DUI.
The lesson here is to plan ahead. If you’re going to drink at a concert, have a designated driver (who is old enough to drive legally) or take public transportation. Desperate, poorly-considered last-minute ploys are a good way to end up with a DUI – or worse.