Sunday, May 08, 2005

Just As I Remember It

I just finished taking traffic school online from the same site that I took it 3 years ago when I got my speeding ticket. Here's an excerpt from the course that I found particularly humorous

  • Put yourself in the other driver's shoes: Instead of judging the other driver, try to imagine why he or she is driving that way. Someone speeding and constantly changing lanes may be a volunteer fireman or a physician rushing to a hospital. Someone who jerks from one lane to another may have a reason, like a bee in the car (emphasis mine) or a crying baby. Whatever their reason, it has nothing to do with you. Stay cool and don't take other driver's actions personally.

Now perhaps I shouldn't be mocking this sentence. After all, a wasp did try to build a nest in the driver's side doorjamb of my truck last quarter. But that's still a pretty damn random thing to throw in the sentence. And as an example of random answer choices, here's one of my favorite questions from one of the section quizzes:

Examples of two-point violations include:
Running a STOP sign or stop light
Exceeding the posted speed limit
Reckless driving, driving under the influence or drugs or alcohol, hit-and-run
Failing to yield the right-of-way
Listening to Barry Manilow

All kidding aside, I did learn one thing and one thing only that I didn't previously know that I found important. The course mentioned something about a preliminary alcohol screening for people under 21, and that someone driving a car under 21 automatically consents to taking one. I decided to look up what a preliminary alcohol screening was and found Section 13388 of the California Vehicle Code:

If a peace officer lawfully detains a person under 21 years of age who is driving a motor vehicle, and the officer has reasonable cause to believe that the person is in violation of Section 23136, the officer shall request that the person take a preliminary alcohol screening test to determine the presence of alcohol in the person, if a preliminary alcohol screening test device is immediately available. If a preliminary alcohol screening test device is not immediately available, the officer may request the person to submit to chemical testing of his or her blood, breath, or urine, conducted pursuant to Section 23612.


For the purposes of this section, a preliminary alcohol screening test device is an instrument designed and used to measure the presence of alcohol in a person based on a breath sample.

So from the looks of things, my rallying cry of I demand a blood test! would get my license taken away. Hell, upon further reading, people over 21 don't have that option either, from the looks of things. I give you Section 23612, subdivision d, paragraph 2:

If a blood or breath test is not available under subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a), or under subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a), or under paragraph (1) of this subdivision, the person shall submit to the remaining test in order to determine the percent, by weight, of alcohol in the person's blood. If both the blood and breath tests are unavailable, the person shall be deemed to have given his or her consent to chemical testing of his or her urine and shall submit to a urine test.

I was going to complain how people under 21 don't have the option of demanding a blood test. It still doesn't seem right, even though it's more or less the same law phrased in a slightly different way. Either way, it doesn't seem like you have the legal right to demand a blood test. Though if this is the case, I wonder why lawmakers felt the need to make a completely different law for people under 21. I'll just be glad when I don't have to deal with this shit anymore


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