$109 fine for new driver taking drunk dad home

A novice Saanich driver says he's being punished for trying to do the right thing, after being fined for having no 'N' sign while driving his intoxicated father home from Victoria.

Evan Godo, 18, drove his father's truck into downtown Victoria around 11:45 p.m. Saturday, after his father called to say he had had too much to drink and didn't want to get behind the wheel.

On their way home, Godo was stopped at a police roadblock, where he was fined $109, because he was driving his father's truck — which had no N sign — instead of his own car, which did have a N sign.

"[I used] my Dad's truck because my car is really low on gas and at that time of night, I don't know what gas station is open and whether I'd make it on time," said Godo.

"My main concern was getting him home safe. At the time, having a little magnetized N on there wasn't my main concern at all."

Marketing student Godo says the roadblock was only manned by one police officer, who took about 10 minutes checking his license, allowing other cars to drive through without checks during this time.

"I noticed car after car driving through. As far as I was concerned [the police officer] pulled me over for my N and he was there targeting drunk drivers and trying to find drunk drivers. Who knows what could have been in those cars or anything?"

The police did not return calls for comment on Friday, but Steve Wallace of Wallace Driving School said the problem for new drivers like Godo may lie in the type of policy operated by Integrated Road Safety Units.

"It is a no–holds–barred unit. So when you get pulled over, they don't have the discretion to forgive. They have a total charge policy," said Wallace.

New drivers in British Columbia, who have already passed the road rules knowledge test, vision test and the Class 7 road test, are required to display their N sign whenever they are driving, until they pass the Class 5 road test.

Godo says he's still considering disputing the fine, although not because of the money. 

"They used bad judgment, horrible judgment in fact. That judgment could have been the deciding factor in someone's life or death." 

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