Fredericton — Northside Fredericton resident Jake Andrews, 27, claims that regardless of the law and public misconceptions about impaired driving, he’s “actually a decent drunk driver.”
The Manatee approached Andrews as he was leaving Dolans Pub on Tuesday night after a few drinks, about to drive home to Devon. “I had maybe 6 beers — that’s nothing,” he slurred as he was getting into his vehicle. “Seven at most. I’m a big guy, too, so I really doubt I’m over the limit.”
Many northsiders claim that being a “good drunk driver” is an enviable skill among their peers, because it means they can all have a fun night downtown and make it home without calling a cab and going to the trouble of picking up their car the next day. Andrews’ friends, who were standing around in the Tannery last night smoking a joint, vouched for their buddy’s ability. “Dude, don’t worry about it. That guy drives better drunk than I do sober,” said Brett Collins, 24. “If I thought he wasn’t okay to drive, I probably would have stopped him.”
Our reporter asked Collins whether he considers himself to be impaired after getting stoned. “Nah, that’s legal anyway I think,” he said, stubbing out the joint. “It actually heightens my senses so I’m in this hyper-aware state. I can practically feel the road beneath me and can tell how fast I’m going without looking at the spedom… the speed thing.”
Some Frederictonians (southsiders) don’t seem to understand their northside counterparts’ uncanny ability. “Most of my friends living on the north side drink and drive, oh yeah,” said Courtney Finney, 23, a Forest Hill resident. “We just don’t question it because they seem so sure of themselves … I guess they know what they’re doing. It never really occurred to me that I should take their keys or anything like that when we split up after the bars.”
Others, like New Maryland mom Carol Higgins, are more realistic. “Everyone knows no one in Fredericton can drive … these guys are deluded if they think they can safely get back to the north side after a bunch of beers. The police should crack down on them.”
Fredericton City Police often set up late-night check stops on the Westmorland Street and Princess Margaret bridges, looking for impaired drivers. Const. Fred Barry admitted to The Manatee that what constitutes the legal limit for southsiders and northsiders differs slightly. “If a southsider blows over .08, we snag their licence and slap them with a DUI right away,” he explained. “But for northsiders we kinda have to go with our gut … some of them seem okay after 10 beers or more, others assure us they’re the best drunk drivers in their group of friends. And we tend to believe them — they’ve been doing this for years.”
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