November 25, 2011

It's Time To End The War On Drunk Driving

Now is the time at SDA when we told you so!

SDA, August 2008;

Truly, drunk drivers need a better press agent. There's no other way to explain how the same people who point to reductions in drunk driving rates through enforcement and stiffer sentencing, also argue that "jail is not the answer" for the criminal drug abuser.

Witness this odd defense of "safe injection sites" by Barbara Yaffe;

- Between June of 2007 and June of 2008, 222 users overdosed at the East Hastings clinic and received immediate intervention. Some of those users might otherwise have died in a back alley.

Just as drunks die, unmourned and unexcused, in alleys and ditches every day of the year. What's so damned special about junkies that they merit the equivalent of a taxpayer funded drunk drivers' lane with rescue teams at the ready?

Matt Gurney, November 2011;

In May 2010, John Fougere, a 22-year veteran employee for the city of Hamilton, Ont., got into a city-owned vehicle while impaired and drove onto a freeway. Fougere was authorized to drive the vehicle, but only from his home to his job site and back. Fougere crashed into a tractor-trailer, doing $9,000 in damage. No one was hurt, and when Fougere was arrested, he twice tested at three times the legal limit for alcohol. The city quickly fired him, and Fougure was convicted of impaired driving and given a $1,500 fine and had his license suspended for a year.

But now an arbitrator has ordered the city to reinstate him. Arbitrator George Surdykowski reportedly agreed that the city was justified in firing Fougere, but since alcoholism is a disability and Fougere has shown remorse and has committed to not drink, he deserves a second chance.


But while Fougere may well suffer from a disease, a disability he can’t control, he still committed a dangerous crime, using a city vehicle. He endangered his life, and the lives of his fellow citizens, and put the city at incredible legal risk. And now that the arbitrator has decided that it must continue to do that, all on Fougere’s say-so that he’s much better now with nothing more than the odd drug and alcohol test to confirm that.

What message does this send?

Where ya been, Matt???

Posted by Kate at November 25, 2011 11:35 AM

Well you could compare the driving habits of junkies and drunks, to see who will get the job done could do a 'double blind' study to see who causes the least vehicular damage.

Are strung out workers more efficient than drunk workers? A perfect question as we move into the Christmas season...with all those red noses maybe they could be employed pulling sleighs!

Add to that a hearty CHEERS

Hans Rupprecht, Commander in Chief

1st Saint Nicolaas Army
Army Group “True North”

Posted by: Hans at November 25, 2011 12:02 PM

Listened this morning to someone on CBC promoting decriminalization of drugs. The question no one asks is - we can't even control the harm done by a legal substance such as alcohol, particularly when driving - we have NO WAY to test of someone on drugs while driving except for blood tests (and you know the human rights/civil liberties crews will be out in full force stopping any blood tests).

Posted by: Maureen at November 25, 2011 12:07 PM

I attended a "safety stand down" the other night, for an oil company, in Swift Current. There were 6 contract supervisors, along with around 50 contractor representatives. It was hosted by the area superintendent, and a bunch of management types, from Calgary. It was, basically, a three hour lecture on safety. There was a slide show depicting vehicle accidents, and industrial accidents.

After the presentation, the managers and supervisors met at a local lounge. Of the fifteen or so, I'd estimate an average of 6 drinks apiece. A couple of them had closer to 8 drinks. When the "meal" was over, every last one of them got into his 4X4, and drove off into the night. I considered offering to drive some of them, but knew they'd refuse.

The war might as well be over, because it's a losing battle.

Posted by: coach at November 25, 2011 12:10 PM

Not only that, if the truck driver had punched Mr. Fougere for being a disgusting, dangerous POS, the truck driver would most assuredly NOT have gotten the benefit of anybody's doubt.

The Iron Ricebowl: not just a Chinese Communist saying any more.

Posted by: The Phantom at November 25, 2011 12:12 PM

Anybody have the stats. for the number of RIDE program stops and the number of drunks caught by them?
Saw it here last.
Make another nice juxtaposition.

Posted by: richfisher at November 25, 2011 12:34 PM

Alcohol is taxxed. Drugs are not.
Once governments figure out the revenue position they are missing by relying on subsidies from government to 'treat' addicts, instead of taxes to collect from 'average' consumers and fines to collect from the 'problem' users, then they will launch a financial offensive against drugs. But they need to normalise drug use first, hence the 'safe injection' sites.
Just look at the changes to alcohol blood content in BC and the changes being proposed in Alberta. Move from .08 to .05 then institute a tiered fine system and impound system for those caught more than once creates a new revenue stream from the 'average' responsible consumer and does nothing to take those who are irresponsible in their consumption.
More intervention from the nanny state telling us we are all guilty before being found innocent.

Posted by: Jan in Alberta at November 25, 2011 12:37 PM

Upon further consideration, I'll add the the -real- problem is not Mr. Fougere and his drinking, its the existence of "arbitrators" who can overturn anything from common sense to the laws of physics with the stroke of a pen.

May every one of them contract boils.

Posted by: The Phantom at November 25, 2011 12:37 PM

Kate said, "There's no other way to explain how the same people who point to reductions in drunk driving rates through enforcement and stiffer sentencing, also argue that "jail is not the answer" for the criminal drug abuser."

Actually, Kate, there is a way to explain it. It's called the mental gymnastics of the brains of leftists.

Plain and simple.

Posted by: Frank Q. at November 25, 2011 12:49 PM

Ole Gurney is getting torn a new orifice on his self-defense story today, too.

Posted by: Mark at November 25, 2011 12:54 PM

I'm an alcoholic, and I think Mr. Fougere is one dangerous guy. He has already demonstrated that his alcoholism can put him into such a satte that he makes gross errors of judgement. Case closed.

Yes, he suffers from alcoholism but now that he is apparently aware of that he has a personal responsibility to arrange his life to minimize the risk he poses to others.

I was a drunk who always had control - never drove, never got into trouble. Until one morning I woke up from a blackout. What had happened? Thankfully nothing, but the point was I DIDN'T REMEMBER.

What was I like during that time? Did I know right from wrong? Did I not drive because I knew I couldn't or because it just didn't occur to me?

I ran to Alcoholics Anonymous like my @ss was on fire, and I haven't drank since.

Personal responsibility, Mr.Fougere - please think about it, for your sake and ours.

Posted by: Johnny at November 25, 2011 1:35 PM

So the process of normalizing the social condition has begun, basically the left want to normalize addictive or repulsive behavior as some kind of sickness that those afflicted with are not at fault.

Posted by: Rose at November 25, 2011 1:49 PM

Johnny, all the best with this.

Posted by: Ken (Kulak) at November 25, 2011 1:51 PM

Thanks, Ken - no problem.

Scaling back the rant, let's just substitute Mr. Fougere's condition. Say he wasn't an alcoholic but instead suffered from epilepsy.

After suffering a seizure while driving, he becomes aware of his condition. What should he do? What should the employer do? Put him back in the same position?

There seems to be a dearth of common sense at work lately...

Posted by: Johnny at November 25, 2011 1:55 PM

Another argument against public sector unions. Even in a unionized private sector job site, showing up for work while impaired usually requires a suspension for first offense, and termination if the worker is unwilling to seek help while on suspension for the second offense. Driving unauthorized while drunk and getting in an accident would normally be severe enough for termination on its own unless inconsistencies were documented. Unions, for the most part only protect the screw-ups. Good workers are in no need and most private sector unions eventually destroy all their jobs.

As to the safe injection sites, while in no way advocating any and all drug use, the laws of unintended consequences are at play here. The junkies have been forced into wretched lifestyles to maintain their addictions to drugs, whereas in the case of heroin, if legal, a five dollar a day habit and under the correct dosage, their users are in a far more functional condition than a drunk (ask any morphine dispensing MD). The relatively inexpensive drugs available on the black market are far more damaging to their users. Crack, Meth and Cocaine users would be physiologically much better off on Heroin. Psychologically and physiologically most would be better off on Jesus. It seems to be the most successful way that hard core drunks and druggies seem to get straightened out.

Posted by: John Chittick at November 25, 2011 1:56 PM

Here's my friend, David Berner, speaking on the idiocy of Vancouver's velvet glove treatment of drug addicts.

Interestingly, David is a reflexive leftie on many issues but not drug abuse.

Posted by: Robert W. (Vancouver) at November 25, 2011 1:57 PM

The junkies have been forced into wretched lifestyles to maintain their addictions to drugs...

They haven't been forced into anything. What nonsense...

Posted by: fiddle at November 25, 2011 2:13 PM

Whenever the ruling elite declare they are going to "war" against something, hold onto your wallet and kiss your liberty good by. War on terror = airport poke and gropes, War on drugs = no knock raids and free meth shooting sites, war on poverty = social welfare state, war on drunk driving = corner liquor stores.

There is NOTHING the ruling class touch that doen't turn into a social hypocrisy. Why do we keep bending over for this dystopian meddling?

Posted by: Occam at November 25, 2011 2:42 PM

Jan in Alberta@12:37

You have the right of it. How long will it take for governments to realize that the criminalization has not worked?

The simple fact of the matter is: impaired driving is, in a practical sense, not a crime, because it lacks the element of intent. It's a lapse in judgment, and a serious one, with the potential of causing tragedy, but it's not an act that one enters into deliberately with the idea of somehow profiting by preying upon others.

If we are ever going to change the way people think about drinking and driving, we have to do it in a way that meshes with public perception.

"Good ol' Joe," they say, "he got a little snapped up, and rolled his truck over in the ditch. Good thing he missed the busload of school kids. But Joe's no criminal, he has a good job, and he provides for his family just fine. Criminals are people who stick a gun in your belly, and demand your wallet." So they aren't going to shun Joe for being a criminal, because they know, in their heart of hearts, that he's not. Maybe he has a drinking problem, and is not capable of making a sound decision about whether or not to drive. Maybe he got caught in a run-away, and simply made a bad decision, once.

What we have to do is turn this situation around, so that instead of it being "criminal" to drink and drive, which we all know is simply a convenient fiction, instead it becomes socially unacceptable to make the bad decision to drive while impaired. "Yeah, Joe, you're no criminal, we know that, but you were a damn fool, driving drunk like you did. You placed yourself at risk, your family at risk, and X number of strangers on the road at risk, all because you drove when you were too drunk to do so. You are damn lucky the only losses you suffered are the big fine, the wrote-off truck, the licence suspension, and the years of huge insurance premiums. It could have been a lot worse."

Using the criminal law to combat drunk driving is wrong for several reasons, one being that it's relatively hard to get caught, so the threat of legal sanctions seems kind of hollow to many people. Secondly, it tends to put friends and relatives onto the offender's side, as described above, because they know the offender is not what they would normally characterize as a criminal. That simply engenders disrespect for the law. Arbitrarily dropping the definition of "criminal" from .08% to .05% certainly doesn't do a damn thing to change that fact; rather it reinforces it.

Posted by: gordinkneehill at November 25, 2011 2:48 PM


Sorry, don't agree. Impaired driving is a crime because it is prohibited by the criminal code.

With all due respect, your comments about someone who breaks the criminal code not being a "real" criminal sound an awful lot like some alcoholics who say they're not "real" alcoholics because they've never lost a job, never had a DUI, don't live under a bridgse and drink from a sack,etc.

Got news for you - drop into any local open AA meeting and you won't see too many paper sacks, but they are all still alcoholics.

You say there is no intent? Let's see, I feel the desire to go from point A to point B. I'm drunk. I drive anyway. My "profit" is I get where I want to go. My preying on others is my disregard for their safety in having done so.

If Joe drinks and drives, please throw him in jail - your suggestion of giving him a good finger-wagging talking-to is simply not going to work.

Posted by: Johnny at November 25, 2011 3:16 PM

Every other criminal act is prosecuted after the fact. Drunk driving is prosecuted because of what might happen.

Posted by: fiddle at November 25, 2011 3:26 PM

"They haven't been forced into anything. What nonsense..."
Posted by: fiddle at November 25, 2011 2:13 PM

Druggies may not be "forced" to use drugs but given that lifestyle choice (addiction), the police enFORCE laws which makes their lives more difficult. No one "forces" you to pay taxes either unless you chose to declare income or purchase anything legally.

Posted by: John Chittick at November 25, 2011 3:31 PM

Cancer is a disease.

Alcoholism and drug addiction is a consequence of choice.

Posted by: set you free at November 25, 2011 3:31 PM

So is speeding, so is not wearing a seat belt, your point?

set you free,
Agree 100% - I don't know if I was born an alcoholic or became one or what - but what I do about it is entirely my choice. And believe me if I can stay sober anyone can.
I venture that the same is true for drug addicts, although I don't envy anyone going through withdrawl. But once you're clean, again I say if I can do it anyone can.

Posted by: Johnny at November 25, 2011 3:45 PM

Druggies may not be "forced" to use drugs but given that lifestyle choice (addiction), the police enFORCE laws which makes their lives more difficult.

Yes, yes, terrible thing to happen. Bring on the harm reduction in the form of legalization.

Posted by: fiddle at November 25, 2011 3:46 PM

Speeding, and not wearing a seat belt is not a criminal act. Your point...?

Posted by: fiddle at November 25, 2011 3:48 PM

Here in BC the government is crowing about the success of their new tougher drunk driving laws. Not surprisingly, the tougher penalties have reduced drunk driving deaths by a whopping 40%.

There was NO hue and cry about this law from the left when it was brought in. NONE. And yet there's this huge hullabaloo about the new crime omnibus bill. Can someone please explain this?

Posted by: james at November 25, 2011 3:52 PM

Johnny, you misread what I said. I am not suggesting that Joe getmerely a finger-wagging lecture. He should get a big fine, and a licence suspension, simply as administrative penalties under the Motor Vehicle Act. But calling what he did a crime, simply by legislative fiat, is not going to deter him or others from exercising the same bad judgment. It certainly hasn't worked very well so far, has it?

But if we could get society to agree that drinking and driving is an unacceptable and avoidable lapse of judgment, perhaps social pressure will deter us from getting ourselves into situations where drinking and driving seems to be an expedient choice. We need to find alternatives to driving home from the bar, or from the party, and make those alternatives attractive to those who need them. In other words, using a drive-home service should not be something one does grudgingly because he has been brow-beaten into it, but something one does willingly because he knows he will get home safely, and get praise for his good judgment in so doing.

Suppose some crusading zealots manage to convince the federal government that simply being an alcoholic places one at such risk of being a danger to society, that all alcoholics must be incarcerated? Would you willingly walk into prison and end your days there?

Posted by: gordinkneehill at November 25, 2011 3:53 PM

I feel forced to chime in here.

Like Johnny, I too am an alcoholic. It's cost me a lot of jobs, my marriage, friends, money, and a host of other things too depressing to mention.

Nearly seven years ago, I was invited to watch a Sunday night football game at a friend's house. Knowing I would be drinking, I took public transit there. My friend had arranged for a designated driver, so I wasn't worried about getting home. There was no doubt I was hammered when he took me home.

I took my usual anti-hangover precautions - drank a couple of litres of water, took two aspirin, set the alarm for 3:30 AM, when I repeated the procedure, and woke up again at 7 am to get ready for work.

I felt fine. Ate, showered, shaved, dressed - no problem. I wasn't stumbling around or weaving. I picked up a friend to take him to work. He told me I was lucid, driving fine, not speeding or wobbling from one lane to another. This was the day back from school vacation after Christmas, and I was stopped in a RIDE patrol. The officer said he smelled alcohol on my breath, gave me a roadside test, which I failed, and took me to the station. At the station, while waiting for my breath test, they asked me to perform certain tasks - close my eyes, hold my arms out to the side, then touch my nose, count backwards from 100 by 17's, etc. I was able to do all of them perfectly. However, I failed the breath test. As they prepared to bundle me into a cell, I asked the staff sergeant "If I could perform all those tests perfectly, how could I know I was over the legal limit?". He said whether you know or not doesn't matter, it only matters that you were.

I have been applying for a lot of jobs recently. I have been offered many jobs, but on every application is the question "Have you been convicted of a criminal offense for which you have not received a pardon?". I was only eligible to apply for a pardon on Oct 31 of this year - just about four weeks ago - and the process is lengthy, so I have to answer "Yes" to that question. Once they see that, the job offers disappear. I try to explain, but it's like trying to explain private property to an Occutwit™; they don't want to hear, and they don't want to understand.

I want to stress that at no time did I consider myself a danger to anyone - I wasn't speeding, I wasn't driving carelessly, or recklessly. The arresting officer, for whatever reason, noted in his report and underlined that I was NOT charged with impaired driving. He seemed apologetic when he showed up at court, and the judge even seemed sympathetic, saying that he didn't think I was a danger either, but that due to mandatory sentencing, his hands were tied.

So my question to the hardliners out there is this: how are you supposed to know when you're over an arbitrary legal limit when you're able to perform all the physical tests that used to be applied to determine if you were impaired or not? You can't buy a breathalyzer for home use (not that I'm aware of, anyway). How are you supposed to know if you're .07 (legal) or .08 (not)?

Now, I know some people are going to say if there's any doubt, don't drive. But there are as many accidents caused by drowsiness as there are by alcohol. Are you going to make driving while sleepy a crime when statistics show that drowsy drivers are just as dangerous as drivers with twice the legal limit of alcohol? How are you going to measure "drowsy"?

This is my complaint against the current laws. You can't always tell beforehand that what you're doing is illegal, based on what how you feel and what your body tells you. I didn't think I was about to drive while over the limit; where's the mens rea? If the government, which rakes in billions each year in alcohol taxes, were to sell portable breath units at liquor stores, then maybe I could determine if my difficult to establish BAC was illegal beforehand. As it is, I'm forced to guess, and now - seven years later - I'm still paying for a wrong decision, when no one was hurt, and no property was damaged. I mentioned to one police officer when I was getting a copy of my record to present to a prospective employer that I felt I was getting more punishment that some people who'd committed murder. She just rolled her eyes, and said "Welcome to Ontario".

Posted by: KevinB at November 25, 2011 4:07 PM

The message is: Drive someone else's vehicle, then it's their fault, not yours

Posted by: Philanthropist at November 25, 2011 4:30 PM

The nanny state reducing the legal limit to .05 is just an incremental step on the way to prohibition. When MADD phoned our place the other day for a donation the woman on the phone got it with both barrels. "Why" I asked her, "do you not ask the courts to go after the repeat offender who continues to drive in a drunken stupor. Why go after the person who has 2 beer after work on Friday or after a round of golf". I knew the answer, "because your average stiff has a job and can pay and will pay and MADD mothers and society's me too do-gooders can feel all special because they see crime everwhere and they are all against crime until it actually entails doing something about an actual criminal; what a joke".

Posted by: nold at November 25, 2011 4:49 PM

nold at November 25, 2011 4:49 PM

Pretty much said it. MADD is another one of those agencies that started off with a host of good intentions but has become just another subsidized shrill voice trying to justify its existence.

If and when the day ever comes that .00 is achieved, the logical next step for MADD will be to outlaw walking, cycling and horesback riding with a beer in your system.

Posted by: Jamie MacMaster at November 25, 2011 5:36 PM

So what's the problem with that? Better than dying while breaking into my house to steal my stuff to buy their drugs eh!

The progressives want the government to give the druggies a pass because druggies are all big lefties …. which explains why they were driven to drugs. Drugs are for those cannot deal with reality.

Posted by: Abe Froman at November 25, 2011 6:23 PM

Good comment,"nold". And dead on!

I've seen and known drunks who have been picked up dozens of times so pissed they could hardly walk,but they rarely,if ever seem to do jail time any more.

An old friend,back in the late 'seventies, was busted three or four times for drunk driving,though never injured anyone in an accident,thank Allah.

After the last offence, he was sentenced to six months in the Provincial jail in Kamloops,and he served all of it.

I never heard of him driving drunk again.

Posted by: dmorris at November 25, 2011 6:42 PM

I don't really get the comparison. Those "criminal (?)" drug abusers didn't ram a car into anybody and aren't hurting anybody but themselves as they OD. There's also no court order for them to receive taxpayer funded treatment/employment/whatever. No, the SCOC's InSite decision did NOT mandage subsidies for drug users it is explicitly more cautious than that. Not that I expect the wild imaginations of Drug Warriors to stay out of the way of facts.

Posted by: libertariansaresmarter at November 25, 2011 7:03 PM

KevinB,good story, good pointa.

I wrote a tip here the other day about the Alberta decision to drop the punishment threshold from .08 to .05.
I totally disagree with this bill. Two beers after work ,and you are a criminal. Sure it isn't a serious lifegore like an impaired conviction would be,but it could very well be. This will become part of your record.
It can and likely will be brought up in any custody situation. It can and will be used in an employment situation. Is it necessary?

NO. There are not any statistics that would back up the need for this law. But,there is a warm fuzzy feeling that makes some happy.

BTW,Pablo Rodriguez took a wild ride one night about 18 months ago. Anyone hear anything about that

Posted by: wallyj at November 25, 2011 7:12 PM

" libertariansaresmarter " .you don't see the connection because you're not.

Posted by: wallyj at November 25, 2011 7:16 PM

" Fougere was authorized to drive the vehicle, but only from his home to his job site and back."

If this is true,he should have been fired for that,unless getting pissed was part of the job.

Posted by: wallyj at November 25, 2011 7:21 PM

James, the law in B.C. vis a vis drunk driving, is different in that the police don't have to have any reason whatsoever to stop you and make you "blow" 3 times. Then again, it may be because they don't like men, or middle-aged white men, or Indians or nuns, whose to say? It is simply a money-grab by ICBC the people's insurance company. It will cost you more than $3,000 to get back on the road, for just refusing to be blow 3x. If you live in the interior with few transit alternatives, you will be out of work, in most cases and on welfare @ $600/mo. and no longer paying your taxes! And, there is no proof that deaths from drunk driving is a result of this ridiculous law. Mind you, 4 ex-mayors of Vancouver,(one a senator) and the present ding-bat, are in favour of legalizing marijuana use.

Posted by: larben at November 25, 2011 7:51 PM

Nold said: "The nanny state reducing the legal limit to .05 is just an incremental step on the way to prohibition."

Yes. Absolutely. The present ascendancy of The Cult of Safety is just an excuse for ever-increasing levels of control by the righteous few. People complain about the Catholic Church in Quebec back in the '50s, those priests were pikers compared to our new Safety Overlords.

Really, the aim is nothing less or other than to put EVERYBODY where KevinB currently is. Under the thumb, under surveillance. Because people are stupid. They must be controlled. There is no level of control which would be considered too much, and that is the part to remember. Little bites, every day another little tiny bite of your liberty. Its like compounding interest.

UNLESS you are a member of The Club. The really, really best part is, if KevinB was a union boy, he'd have gotten a Special Deal.

Kevin, moving to the States wouldn't be the worst thing you ever did. When they ask That Question, you can truthfully say "No!" And nobody will give a crap about Canadian records. Canada is a place where Eskimos hunt polar bears with spears, when they aren't playing hockey.

Also you might consider -lying- on the forms. If you've been working someplace successfully, private enterprise, they aren't going to go hunting for skeletons, know what I mean? Besides, its better to get fired over some technicality than to go hungry from not working.

Posted by: The Phantom at November 25, 2011 8:20 PM

When the US feds forced I think it was 34 states to lower the limit from 0.1 to 0.08, alcohol-related traffic incidents increased. Not surprising when you consider that the cops manning those checkpoints aren't actually enforcing safety.

Posted by: libertariansaresmarter at November 25, 2011 8:33 PM

libertariansaren'tsmarter said: "I don't really get the comparison. Those "criminal (?)" drug abusers didn't ram a car into anybody and aren't hurting anybody but themselves as they OD."

Yes, we know you don't get it. The problem you're having is the statement "they aren't hurting anybody but themselves" is untrue.

The truth of the matter is drunks and drug addicts cause tremendous damage. That's why the places where druggies and bums hang out are all trashed and dilapidated. Because they wreck the place. They accelerate decay and entropy by their activities. Then there's the un-defineable yet large social cost of broken families. You think a broken family doesn't cost money?

The rest of us get stuck with the tab to fix what they break. Its expensive. That's why I don't really have as much of a problem with taxes on booze and smokes as on things like property and fuel. Users and sellers have to take up part of the bill for the -wreckage-. If hard drugs get legalized, I'm going to militate for the taxes on them to be really fierce. Because the physical damage they do to people is profound.

And by the way, aren't Libertarians supposed to be big on taking responsibility for your actions? Where's the responsibility in keeping dying addicts alive longer to break more stuff? How are they going to pay for that when they can't even pay for their own breakfast?

I direct your attention to Kate's post today, "Why is there ALWAYS a big screen TV?" That's the cost of addiction staring at ya. Nine $billion bucks a year for the Dept of Indian affairs, and little kids live in places I wouldn't keep my dog. Literally. I'd burn it down and build something better for the dog.

Posted by: The Phantom at November 25, 2011 8:48 PM

fiddle, 3:48

Hey, when you're right you're right...
I stand corrected. Good point.

Posted by: Johnny at November 25, 2011 8:53 PM

gordankneehill at 3:53

I understand what you are sayng.
We're on the same page.

Posted by: Johnny at November 25, 2011 9:00 PM

Who is going to pay for the cities increase in the insurance for the vehicle's????when a convicted drunk is going to drive again...big dollars that is...he should pay for any increase as long as it lasts...

Posted by: KenE. at November 25, 2011 9:11 PM

And by the way, aren't Libertarians supposed to be big on taking responsibility for your actions? Where's the responsibility in keeping dying addicts alive longer to break more stuff?

We libertarians have the apparently unique ability to not declare all addicts guilty of breaking stuff. Look I'm not going to indulge your prejudices against drug users by condoning arbitrary government prohibitions and I'm not buying into your idea that causing (often nebulous) damage to one's own life is somehow the same as driving drunk. It isn't.

Drugs alone have never hurt anybody. It's entirely the user's choice. I should note the harm of many hard drugs has been grossly exaggerated. Millions of people did cocaine in the '80s and they're fine today. Pure ecstasy has recently been shown to have no negative effect on cognitive ability.

Posted by: libertariansaresmarter at November 25, 2011 10:05 PM

Two points.

1. Mothers Against Drunk Driving is an evil organization.

2. KevinB said "This is my complaint against the current laws. You can't always tell beforehand that what you're doing is illegal,"

Exactly right, and that is precisely what a controlling government wants.

I cannot think of a single other law on the books where a person can participate in an activity, and yet have absolutely no means of knowing if they are breaking the law.

In general I think most drunk driving laws are stupid and represent a serious invasion by the state. They are scarcely any different than laws that state that having a gun is illegal, even though you have not hurt anyone with said gun.

The worst part of drunk driving laws is this: once the laws are tightened, no politician will ever have the guts to loosen them out of fear that the next drunk driving accident will be blamed on them. This is precisely what commie organizations like MADD want. It is a path of no return.

Posted by: TJ at November 25, 2011 10:40 PM

"We need to find alternatives to driving home from the bar, or from the party, and make those alternatives attractive to those who need them."

That's right - just like we need alternatives to those who want to own guns, maybe toy guns that go bang bang. Booze and guns, whats the difference, it should all be illegal.

Sarcasm aside, I've driven home many times in my life after 2 or 3 beers. And even though I've feel fine, I take it easy, I don't speed, I watch what I'm doing. But in the eyes of the law I am a sleazy criminal right up there with rapists and drug dealers.

Posted by: TJ at November 25, 2011 10:48 PM

Moral panic is a dynamic in which some threat to the social order - usually something taboo - causes a response that goes far beyond meeting the actual threat. A socio-political stampede, if you will.

The group dynamic contrived from such moments of social unity often yields startlingly extreme results. Policymakers tend to abandon even the “mean” of their personal convictions and then willingly adopt the most extreme position offered to them

Take a look at the proposed legislation. It’s got everything - including but not limited to expanded "administrative" authority to arbitrarily seize/impound vehicles at the road side with police acting as judge, jury and executioner - an improvisation to accommodate the massive power of the bureaucracy. If it’s “administrative” it must be reasonable and just - or so goes the Hobbesian thinking.

Exploiting the tragedy of those victimized by DUI for political gain is nothing short of Machiavellian. Tragic as it was no law could have prevented the recent deaths of the 4 teen-age football players from Grand Prairie.

Alberta already has more than enough legislation to deal with this very real problem - "Reckless endangerment" or "Driving without due care and attention" both come to mind. But that would require the arresting officer to exercise judgment and to attend court and testify - messy and expensive.

This is much more than just a bill about DUI. It’s a bald-faced expansion of all-powerful government. Redford can easily move on legislation like this because DUI is a social taboo. The inference is too strong in too many minds that opposing government initiatives on DUI somehow condones it. Redford is using taboos to cow Albertans into accepting yet more government growth and - yes - even more future subservience.

The proposed law is designed to neatly reduce police effort & costs and enhance revenue while placating those who demand "There ought to be law."

Moral entrepreneurs such as MADD and others claiming to speak on behalf of the public and in concert with the media further amplify the problem by creating "folk devils" (i.e., us vs. them) and then propose extreme measures as solutions to a problem that "must" be dealt with.

Posted by: Paul at November 25, 2011 11:27 PM

Here in the Socialist Republic of Ontario, we have the .05 administrative fee. MADD will not stop until the laws, admin fees, or [enter new pseudo-law label here] reduce the allowable bac to zero. Who is going to fight MADD? No politician wants to publicly denounce lowering bac limits. Imagine the headline, "Joe Politician says it's ok to drink and drive". Or worse. It would be political suicide.

Aside from the lack of political will to fight it, I see another huge problem...what will be the next target? OTC meds? Precrip meds? Caffeine?

There's an idea...let's set up a RIDE program between 11AM and 2PM and assess an administrative fee to those with too much caffeine or nicotine in their system. Who knows what these hopped-up maniacs might do behind the wheel of a killing machine!

Posted by: Rick at November 26, 2011 12:45 AM


You inquired about RIDE stats. Here they are for Toronto from 2006-10

Year 06 07 08 09 10
Cars 399419 426485 409429 409274 398526
Chgs 282 344 380 490 406
% chg .07 .08 .09 .12 .10

Please note that "Charges" refers to ALL charges, including driving while suspended, no insurance, etc., not just impaired. Non-impaired charges as a percent of all RIDE charges have increased recently, after a court decision that, despite its name and ostensible purpose, RIDE could be used as a fishing expedition once a vehicle was stopped.

So we have a program where nearly half a million drivers - just in one city, mind you - are stopped so that less than one tenth of one percent of them can be charged with a crime. For those who justify this on the basis of efficacy, why not just let police stop anyone, anytime, and check them out? Throwing personal freedom out the window will certainly reduce what the government decides is crime.

PS Kate, could you please find a way to let us insert tables so that they're easy to read?

Posted by: KevinB at November 26, 2011 4:02 AM

Thanks KevinB.

Posted by: richfisher at November 26, 2011 9:06 AM

Canadian prosecutors need to take a much tougher stand on drunk driving.

Attitudes toward drunk driving have changed in the United States. A CBS 60 Minutes news report, DWI Deaths: Is it Murder?, profiled Nassau County district attorney Kathleen Rice who has successfully prosecuted drunk drivers on murder charges.

U.S. laws allow for such prosecutions when it can be proven that through the drunk driver's actions, there was depraved indifference to human life. Sentences have ranged from 18 years in one case to 25 years to life in another case.

Rice believes that if you want to stop drunk driving, you have to treat it as a serious crime with serious jail time. Canadian prosecutors and Canadian courts could learn something from their U.S. counterparts.

Is it time for Canadian prosecutors to treat a drunk driver who kills someone with their car the same way they would treat a person who commits a murder using a gun?

The moment that a drunk driver gets into a car, starts it and drives off, they have effectively loaded a gun and pointed it at a someone. And when that car hits a pediestrian or another vehicle and kills someone it's the same as if they pulled the trigger of a loaded gun.

Attitudes about drunk driving need to change.

Posted by: Jim Horne at November 26, 2011 9:16 AM

Hi Jim, thanks for the propaganda moment. What's your plan for MAKING me change my attitude if I'm not inclined to do so voluntarily?

Posted by: The Phantom at November 26, 2011 10:04 AM

libertariansarestubborn said: "Millions of people did cocaine in the '80s and they're fine today."

Yeah but they're NOT though. Its kind of hard to argue with a flat refusal to accept the facts of the matter dude. Look up "cocaine induced dementia" just for starters, and see if you think a guy with that condition is "fine" and able to carry on a productive and responsible life. Maybe people who did cocaine a couple times are fine, those with a habit not so much.

There's the fact that heavy cocaine use causes brain damage, and that don't grow back. That's not the unsupported opinion of some guy in a bar btw, that's my professional opinion as a physical therapist who has worked with a lot of neuro patients. You can work around brain damage, but you can't -fix- it.

"Institutionalized" is the generic term for the result. "Wheelchair-bound invalid" works too.

What's a wrecked human being cost to look after these days, lib? Maybe you should look that up too, the number has more zeros than you think. -You- are paying for that party.

Meanwhile, KevinB can't get a f-ing job because MADD runs a really good propaganda campaign. Catch 22 alive and well, eh? Sound like a free country? Sounds like a police state to me.

Posted by: The Phantom at November 26, 2011 10:32 AM

It's a given they won't stop till the legal alcohol content in your blood is zero it's a given, if it stops at that is the question and the problem.

One I ask at annual safety meetings, the depressing part of it all is the amount of people that bow under the march to a perfect society, they complain behind progressives backs but are silent when they get their chance to push back.

Jim why stop with drunk driving why not drop the hammer with any tragic circumstance someones bad judgement helps bring about?

Look I think many more teens get the picture then we did at their age, we had cops that gave you a break when they tapped on your window at 4 am and the startled driver sleeping off the crop tour threw his beer all over the inside the car.

The laws are tough enough the message has been made long ago, and when the limit gets to the point where you not dare sniff a beer cap before you drive it's time to move on.

Posted by: Mugs at November 26, 2011 11:22 AM

The real answer is that the if there is any future accidents or ofter consequence for the city related to this decision, the arbitrator is held liable.

Posted by: Pete E at November 26, 2011 2:21 PM

I was talking about only casual use, which represents the vast majority of drug use.

Posted by: libertariansaresmarter at November 26, 2011 2:31 PM

libertariansaredodging said: "I was talking about only casual use, which represents the vast majority of drug use."

No you weren't. "We libertarians have the apparently unique ability to not declare all addicts guilty of breaking stuff."

Did you know that the cost of putting up an immobile patient is close to six figures annually? Uh huh. Right out of your pocket. Takes 'em years to die, sometimes. And they die ugly, by inches.

And where do addicts come from? Casual use crowd. Its like an NHL farm team.

Tell me again about the costs of drunk driving.

Understand I'm not in -favor- of drunk driving, but Kate's original point was extremely cogent. Hard core drug abusers get free needles and "poor babies!" petting from media, casual beer drinkers get their lives destroyed because they're SATAN!!! Seems odd.

Posted by: The Phantom at November 26, 2011 3:01 PM

KevinB, what happened to you is honestly rotten and unfair. Noone - and Jim Horne might want to pay attention here - wants drunks careening around the roads. That's not the point. The teetotal fanatics at MADD*** (an organization which no doubt did some good work once upon a time) are trying to push the legal driving limit down to zero. From what Kevin said, he hadn't had a drink for at least 7 hours, he wasn't behaving recklessly or driving dangerously, he wasn't intoxicated.

The state wants us all to be guilty, all the time.

(***Movement run by women, modern descendant of the Temperance movement for which several Mafia families are eternally grateful. Come to think of it, I've just decided to blame MADD and their spiritual sisters for the Kennedys [oh the irony]. Women: Running organizations to run your life.)

Posted by: Black Mamba at November 26, 2011 3:45 PM


What happened to you sucked I agree.
But I disagree that there was no way to know you were in trouble.

A single 1 and 1/2 ounce (44 ml) shot of 80-proof (40% alcohol) hard liquor puts a 240-pound man’s blood alcohol level at 0.016. Same with a glass of wine or a single beer. Adjust the formula to your own body weight and you can tell exactly what you blood alcohol level (BAL) is right after your last drink. Unless you drink all the alcohol in one gulp you’ll actually be erring on the side of caution, because the drinks you had two hours ago are already partly metabolized when you take that last drink.

A typical male metabolism burns through 0.01 of blood alcohol every 40 minutes. Using this you can calculate your BAL in the hours after your last drink.

Example: you say you were “hammered” when you went home after watching a Sunday night football game. Let’s say you consumed a full bottle of whiskey (750 mls). That would have had me pretty hammered in my drinking days. Let’s say the football game ended at 9PM and it was then you took your last sip. Using the formula above your BAL at that moment would have been 0.27 – pretty darn high.

Using the next calculation you could see what your BAL would be in the next few hours:
9 PM 0.27 over
11PM 0.24 over
1 AM 0.21 over
3 AM 0.18 over
5 AM 0.15 over
7 AM 0.12 over
9 AM 0.09 just over
11AM 0.06 just under
1 PM 0.03 under
3 PM 0.00 completely sober

No wonder you failed.
But as easily as shown above, you could have known that.

Posted by: Johnny at November 26, 2011 8:40 PM