HE SAID: About time for stricter impaired laws

Rob Leggett
By Rob Leggett
May 6th, 2010

If I choose to smoke with my children in my car, I can be fined, just as I could be fined for talking on my cell phone while driving, and now the BC government has announced tough drinking and driving laws that will allow police to immediately fine and suspend drivers caught with a blood alcohol level as low as 0.05.

And it’s about time!

According to the online calculator provided by CAA, in order for a 180 pound man to reach the 0.05 limit (it should be noted that exhaustive test have proven that at this level of impairment your concentration, coordination, alertness and judgment are all negatively affected), he would need to consume four beers in two hours. In my opinion, if any person denies that they are impaired after four beers is only deluding themselves.

I also believe that when a person makes the conscience decision to drive their vehicle to the bar, or any place where they will knowingly be drinking, without arranging a safe way home, has already decided that they will drive while impaired. To me this would be the same as premeditated murder in the case where there is a fatality and in the very least reckless endangerment.

You can make all the excuses you wish, like the transit doesn’t run that late or the cab takes too long or is too expensive, but the fact remains that you are attempting to control a two tone lethal weapon and are risking the lives of others. And this is precisely why we need these strict new laws.

Those that are critical of the new laws claim that this is a cash grab, an infringement on individual rights or even, giving the police too much power.

It should be safe for me to say that if this is the best the critics can come up with why bother criticizing the laws at all?

These laws do not diminish your right to choose to drive while impaired, but if you do choose to endanger the safety of others because of your own lack of personal control there rightfully should be a penalty for your ignorance. The government, in their wisdom, gave the power to enforce those penalties after watching an inept court system amass a dismal record of dealing with impaired driving cases over the years.

I personally do not care if a person wants to go out and get themselves inebriated and drive, so long as the only person guaranteed to be hurt is the idiot behind the wheel, but sadly that is rarely the case.

While it may be true that there are only about 130 fatalities a year in BC due to impaired driving (this number does not include all the injuries or minor incidents), that is still 130 to many, when the easiest way to have prevented even one fatality was to not drive at all.

I keep my children and others safe by choosing to not smoke or not driving drunk, and it is a shame that others need a law to do the same.

Categories: Op/Ed


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