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Drunk Driving Laws: Mixed Messages

The RCMP appears to be showing no mercy in enforcing B.C.’s tough new impaired-driving laws. An officer from Vernon, B.C. recently issued an immediate three-day roadside prohibition to a man, impounded his car for three days and issued a $200 fine for blowing over 0.05% blood-alcohol, and below 0.08%, around dinnertime on Monday.

The man was the first driver to be charged under the new legislation in the Vernon/North Okanagan detachment area of B.C. The controversial legislation, which took effect on September 20, 2010, is similar to laws that are popping up all around the country.

My problem with the legislation is the mixed messages that are being sent. On one hand, the legislature is saying that it is O.K. to have a little bit to drink before you drive. This, they assume, is required to support the restaurant industry. On the other hand, they are saying that a single drink could be enough to get you in trouble with the police.

If the message is that a single drink can potentially make you a dangerous driver, enough to be suspended for 3 days and fined hundreds of dollars, is it right to send the message to people that it might be O.K. to have a little to drink, as long as they’re under 0.05% BAC, which most people are unable to gauge?

It sounds like a game of “roll the dice, and see how you blow on the breathalizer,” when in fact choosing to drink and drive is an entirely different gamble.

What do you think of the new laws? Post your comments below!

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