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‘Idiot’ citizens still choose to drink and drive

Editor, The Record:

I have read today that the CAA has published survey data from across the country which indicates up to 24 per cent of adult Canadians admit to drinking and driving in the last 12 months.

I find this an amazing statistic and one which in my opinion places a significant proportion of our society in the category of “idiot.” This issue is not rocket science and the principles are widely and well understood. The scientifically proven facts are that alcohol negatively affects judgement, motor function and reaction times and the annual multitude of deaths and injuries on our roads associated with alcohol are cold, stark evidence of these facts. According to the CAA study, 98 per cent of Canadians describe drinking and driving as unacceptable yet a significant proportion of our society makes a conscious choice to ignore the potential consequences and, purely for the sake of convenience, take a chance with their lives and the lives of others. The justice system and politicians enable this behaviour as time and again we witness pathetically inappropriate sentences for serious breaches of this law.

The notion, for example, that a police officer may even consider keeping his or her job following a conviction for such an offence is an affront to justice — police officers simply must behave in a way that is above reproach. Causing death through drunk driving requires a mandatory minimum prison sentence of meaningful magnitude.

Recent amendments to B.C. drunk driving legislation resulted in much-reported howls of indignation from a vocal minority, and the media spotlight quickly turned towards the provision of adequate numbers of cabs in Vancouver — as if this in any way excused driving while under the influence of alcohol.

This whining and rather superficial reaction totally missed the honest reality — nobody has the right to choose convenience over someone else’s safety, and individual criminal acts are always the responsibility of the perpetrator. It has been suggested that if every politician had served in a war we would rapidly move towards a more peaceful world. Perhaps if every driver had seen, as I have in the course of a previous career, the very gruesome and tragic results of drink driving accidents, fewer of our neighbours would get behind the wheel after a few drinks and treat our streets like a “no consequences” computer game.

L. P. Simmons