Saturday, July 31, 2010

People argue to be able to drink and drive!

Why do people still insist on driving after they have been drinking? Why do drivers speed at ridiculous rates through residential neighbourhoods, or anywhere else for that matter?

I had the misfortune today of attending a fatal crash in North York this morning. A car was travelling at a high rate of speed and was T-boned in an intersection on a quiet little side street.

The debris field was huge. 2 cars absolutely destroyed. 1 person dead and 4 sent to hospital. One of the drivers was arrested for an alcohol offence related to driving. The car he was driving was the one that the deceased person was in, that was allegedly speeding and allegedly went through a stop sign.

Between Twitter and Facebook there were lots of messages condemning drinking and driving and aggressive driving. That led to some conversation about the new 21 and under law. Surprisingly in some of that conversation stream, people were willing to chastise the new law for being age discriminatory or unacceptable on some level because of a Zero BAC requirement.

WHAT??? Why in the world would people argue to be able to drink and drive. I mean that's really what it comes down to. That is what you are arguing defend your desire to drink and drive. Think about it. If you argue against a zero BAC, or the newer "Warn Range" Suspensions being too restrictive, or the legal limit being too low, you are arguing in essence to be allowed to drive a 2000 pound weapon with an an intoxicant in your system!

How about supporting the notion of someone drinking while walking down the street with a loaded machine gun.

I had a number of people ask my opinion on the law and what I believe. Some asked if I believe it should be just 21 and under or all drivers. Well, you probably know me well enough by now to know what my answer was:



  1. I absolutely agree with this! The only thing that I hate about this new law is that it is only limited to 21 and under. I feel it should be for EVERYONE no matter how old. Drinking any amount of alcohol and getting behind the wheel of a car is absolutely irresponsible and immature. In the aviation industry pilots are not allowed to fly if they have had alcohol within 48 hours before their flight and nobody contests that! So it should be the same for drivers. This new law is a start in helping to make our streets a little safer.

  2. With all due respect, this is just another useless promotion of organizations like M.A.D.D.

    Instead of stopping people who have extremely low level of alcohol in their blood and charging them with stupid offences that screw up their jobs/ability to travel out of the country/etc for the next 10 years (just because they registered 0.01% above some imaginary line)... why not cut that B.S. out all together and only increase the fines for those who end up in accidents of any sort that involve alcohol.

    As in, if someone is involved in a crash or any sort of tiny little accident and they get registered as above the legal alcohol limit, take their license away for something like 3 years, slap them with $25,000 fine and something else ridiculous on top of that to actually make people think twice about even sitting behind the wheel drunk (who the heck can afford an extremely severe penalty like that?)

    Otherwise, if there was no harm done to anyone, nobody got hurt, why not allow people to take responsibility for their own actions and hold them liable when they mess up? After all, that's what this country has been founded on too - the Common Law... no harm done, no penalty.

  3. I love well thought out, articulate and intelligent comments. I'm glad someone posted one. The other one? Everyone has their opinion.

  4. "the Common Law... no harm done, no penalty. "

    So you think it's okay to drive after you have been drinking and as long as you didn't hurt anyone and you made it home it's okay? Maybe try it again next weekend and hope for the best too?

    Gambling is fun when you're at a casino but gambling with your life and the lives of innocent people on the road is just plain stupid. Anyone who thinks that it is okay to do so should really not be driving at all sober or not as that process of thought is an indicator of their poor judgment.

    People at parties might think well I only had one or two I'm fine to drive. Well look at this...

    "The number of drinks consumed is a poor measure of BAC because of the many factors affecting your body’s ability to digest alcohol, such as weight, body fat, and how long ago and how much you ate. Factors like tiredness and your mood can also make a difference in how alcohol affects your driving ability. It is very difficult to assess your own BAC or impairment. Small amounts of alcohol affect one’s brain and the ability to drive."

    This comes from the MTO website on facts about drinking and driving. In short, how do you know what your BAC is without actually having a breathalizer test done? The answer: You don't know. So if you drink its better to just simply NOT DRIVE! Don't gamble with your life and certainly don't gamble with the lives of everyone else out there on the roads.

    If you were boarding a plane and learned that the pilot only had "a couple" of drinks in the airport bar before the flight I think you would reconsider taking that flight. So why would it be okay to get behind the wheel of a car? A car is a heavy piece of equipment that if used improperly can do significant damage.

    Remember driving is a privilege and not a right and people tend to forget this a lot. Follow the rules and make smart responsible choices.

  5. Why would I argue against such an ignorant statement? Why is it that we don't try to stop where MOST of the deaths occur? Why is it that it is "ok" to fall asleep when driving yet someone has a beer or two and we want to place toothpicks under their finger nails. Why is it the people are "guilty" of reckless driving after a drink yet people can be all over the road because they are arguing or some other inattentive driving and they may receive a PBJ if anything at all.
    When will we start judging people based upon the result of what they have done instead of what they "may" do?

  6. To anonymous whose comment I rejected.
    Please feel free to remove the swearing and I will post your views.

  7. Officer Burrows,

    First of all, I'd like to say that I genuinely appreciate the work that you and every officer in the TPS does. I also appreciate that you see horrific things that form your opinion that absolutely nobody should be drinking and driving whatsoever, including people over 21 for whom it is still legal to do so (in small amounts.)

    However, I'd like to ask you a question - as enforcers of the law, do you really feel it's appropriate for you to be expressing beliefs about what the law should be? Don't you feel that has the potential to create fear in the populace that police officers are on the streets enforcing laws as they think they ought to be, instead of what they actually are? There's a particular sensitivity to this right now because of what went down at the G20.

    Just interested in your thoughts on this. Enjoy your blog.

  8. That's a great question.

    You'll find it very rare that officers will give opinion on what the laws should be. We are well conditioned to know that our place is enforcing the laws as they are provided by the legislators.
    In this blog, I try to sway personal choice to the safer side of the rules. For example, even though it is legal for a person to drive after having consumed alcoholic drinks up to .079mgs, I recommend that no person should be driving with any alcohol in their systems.

    I can't charge someone for having not committed an offence, but if there are grounds present, I can investigate them to ensure they are working within the confines of the rules so that I know everyone is as safe as possible. No offence, no charge.

    Again, thanks for the question and taking the time to comment.