We get it, it happens. You’ve had a lot to drink and you’ve made a poor decision, you got behind the wheel of your car. Now, you’ve gotten caught by the police. If this is your first time, you’re probably thinking “What’s going to happen now?” Here’s what you should expect.
The Test: If a police officer asks if you’ve been drinking and isn’t satisfied with your answer, you will need to take a breathalyzer test. The key number here is 0.06%. If your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is higher than this amount, OR if you refuse to do the test altogether, you will be deemed drunk.
The police have decided that I’m drunk, what happens now?
Look into Section 216 of the motor traffic act, which can be read here. It says if the driver is found to be driving under the influence of alcohol the following penalties will apply:
– Stay at the police station to be examined by a government medical officer.
– Be taken to jail before a magistrate
– Depending on the decision, expect to pay a fine between Rs.3500-Rs.7500 and/or jail time of upto 3 months
– Suspension of his/her driving license for a period of 12 months
– Have his/her vehicle taken by the police: Although the insurance firm can make these arrangements for you, You will bear the cost of towing your vehicle (between Rs. 10,000-Rs. 20,000 within Colombo) to the police station.
– Have a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) on your permanent record: which could affect your ability to get certain jobs, travel VISA’s, bank loans, get into university, not to mention the social stigma associated with being labelled a drunk driver.
What about insurance? Your premium amounts won’t get affected in Sri Lanka. However, if there is an accident and you are caught with a DUI, your insurance claim will be rejected.
Let’s recap: A suspended driving license, an impounded vehicle and a fair amount of money gone down the drain. That’s a pretty significant penalty for deciding to get behind the wheel while driving. Plus, we haven’t even gone into what would happen if your vehicle got into an accident, this is what happens when the stakes are lower!
Bottom line: drinking and driving isn’t worth it. Make sure you take appropriate steps to get home safely.
Disclaimer: The views shared in this blog are based on the macro economic conditions & industry status quo as per the time of publishing.