British Columbia

Driving instructor's car impounded for letting a drunk student get behind the wheel

A professional driving instructor is without his car for 30 days after he was caught teaching a drunk student.

Richmond, B.C.-based instructor should have spotted the problem, says RCMP

RCMP pulled over this student driver car for running a stop sign and then realized the driver was impaired. The student driver lost his licence for 90 days. (Coquitlam RCMP)

A professional driving instructor is without his car for 30 days after the student he was teaching was caught driving impaired.

It started as a routine traffic stop. The car, emblazoned with the words "student driver" on the back, ran through a stop sign. 

 "When our officer pulled the vehicle over, he thought he could detect signs of impairment," said Cpl. Michael McLaughlin, spokesperson with Coquitlam RCMP. 

"And after a short conversation, he indeed pulled the driver out of the vehicle." 

The 44-year-old Coquitlam man who was driving, and who subsequently failed a roadside sobriety test, had his licence suspended for 90 days and the car was impounded. 

"This is extraordinary," McLaughlin said. 

"I've never seen anything like it. Our traffic sergeant who's also very experienced has never seen anything like it."

He says both driver and instructor are responsible: one for driving impaired and the other for allowing it. 

It took the traffic officer less than a minute to realize the driver was impaired, McLaughlin said. 

"A driving instructor should be able to figure it out just as quickly," he said.

"It's one of the lessons we want to get out there to driving instructors: Do you really know the state of your students? Because when you're in the car with them, you're responsible for them."

Police would not release the name of the driving school but said it is a small operation out of Richmond. 

"We would highly recommend that most people who are learning to drive use of driving school, but do your homework," McLaughlin said. 

"Go with a company that has good reviews and the best that you can afford."