COLUMN: Driving laws may be best thing B.C. could have

New provincial legislation aimed at reducing the road carnage caused by impaired driving is certainly draconian, as it basically means there will be zero tolerance for driving after having as little as one drink.

A local restaurateur told me last week he believes this law and its enforcement has had a more significant impact on the hospitality business downturn than the much-vaunted HST, especially here in the suburbs where transit options are not as good as they are for people who party it up in the region’s urban areas.

People are afraid to have even one glass of wine with their dinner, he reasons, and this is keeping people at home.

I reckon he’s probably right on this but on the other hand, does everyone really have to consume alcohol to have a good time?

I’m not a prude or a teetotaller by any means, but over the almost 40 years I’ve worked as a journalist I’ve heard and written far too many stories about the heartbreaking tragedies caused by mixing alcohol with motor vehicles. If this legislation succeeds in reducing the numbers of these stories, I will be perfectly alright with it.

And aside from drinking at home, there are other alternatives.

You can still enjoy a night out, socializing with friends and supporting live music acts, without imbibing alcohol. If I’m driving home from a venue I simply order non-alcoholic beer.

An extra side benefit is you won’t become an alcoholic or ravage your organs, perhaps even live a longer and happier life. You’ll certainly have more money left in your pocket.

Naturally, I fully expect to one day get pulled over by a skeptical police officer and told to do stupid human tricks after he or she sniffs the barley and hops on my breath, but that’s OK. The police are just doing the job we pay them to do, and I will pass any tests with flying colours.

If this isn’t convincing enough, consider that if some idiot drives into you and you are found to be impaired, you will be charged as partially to blame and your insurance is null and void because you broke the law. Even if your driving was otherwise perfect and you couldn’t have avoided the collision no matter whether you were sober or impaired, you are hooped.

The scariest part is that if the driver that hit you is crippled you could conceivably spend the rest of your life paying for that person’s care out of your own pocket, because, remember, your insurance is cancelled retroactively.

The way I see it the government is doing us a favour with this new law; a win-win all the way round.

And really, if you can’t enjoy a night out without alcohol, perhaps you should start asking yourself whether you have a problem.

Kurt Langmann is the editor of The Aldergrove Star, a sister publication to The Mission Record.

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