Drinking and Driving - Are We Winning the Fight?

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Driving when sober is one of the most dangerous things that most people do every single day of their lives. We take the risks involved far too casually.

A spate of very high profile drinking and driving accidents, including the conviction of Marco Muzzo for killing almost an entire family, has put the battle against drinking and driving back into the spotlight. The CBC ran a very interesting forum discussion asking the very question – Are we making progress in the battle against driving against the influence?

Ontario has some of the stiffest penalties for drinking and driving with the:

  • Warn Range of 0.05% - 0.08% BAC carrying serious consequences
  • Graduated licencing prohibiting any alcohol for those 21 and under
  • Tough consequences for BAC of > 0.08%

It was interesting to me to see the opinions of many regular people on the topic. Some we’ve heard often, some were relatively new ideas. Here is a quick summary of the thoughts that people came forward with.

  • Make the acceptable limit of alcohol 0. There would be no room for confusion or doubt in anyone’s mind about whether they are OK to drive.
  • Legalizing car share services. The thought being they are cheaper than cabs, particularly in less well serviced, semi-rural areas.
  • Make the penalties upon conviction even stiffer. Make them life altering.
  • Include TEXTING and driving as an impairment.
  • Mandatory alcohol sensors in all cars.

What’s interesting is that very few people suggested more education. We all know that it’s wrong and a bad idea. So why are people still doing it? We have seen almost a 2/3 reduction in convictions since the mid-1980s however there are still far too many impaired drivers on the roads. Police rely primarily on people to report drunk drivers that they see on the roads. It’s then up to the police to find them in time and charge them.

If you see someone who you suspect is drunk or distracted or otherwise impaired behind the wheel dial 911 immediately and report them. It IS legal to be on your cell phone while driving if you are calling 911. Reporting people after the fact doesn’t do anyone any good.