|When are adults adults?
||[Nov. 19th, 2008|12:15 pm]
I had nothing to do for much of the morning at work, so I spent some time reading about the a new piece of legislation recently proposed in Ontario. If passed, this would place additional restrictions on drivers 21 years of age or younger. These include:|
-A 0.00 blood alcohol limit enforced for all drivers under 22.
-Severer penalties for drivers under the age of 22 caught speeding.
-Drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 being limited to one "teenage" passenger (although they say exceptions will be made for family members).
There are articles about it here and here, and in lots of other places I'm sure.
Admittedly, I haven't read the legislation itself, so there could be things I'm missing. But if the articles are a decent representation of what it says, I have a few issues with it. It's ridiculous to punish two adults differently for the same infraction because one is slightly older than the other. For that matter, to have speeding become less of a "big deal" on your 22nd birthday also makes no sense. And ideally, all drivers would have a blood alcohol level of 0.00, but the reality is that if an adult of any age has one drink with supper and goes out a couple of hours later, his BAC will likely not be a perfect zero. This doesn't mean he's impaired or that he deserves criminal charges, especially if they come simply because he hasn't reached 22 yet.
The last issue is the most restrictive, given that the age of majority in Ontario is 18, and the drinking age is 19. 19 year olds can vote, join the military, go to bars and drink, etc. and yet under this new legislation, they wouldn't be able to drive two of their friends to the movies on a Friday night (or even afternoon). Nor would they be able to carpool to school, extra-curricular activities, or a job. Theoretically, this could have exactly the opposite of its intended effect: 19 year-old designated drivers would no longer be able to drive more than one friend home from the bar (which they legally entered and where they are legally entitled to consume alcohol). DD duty is not generally popular, and if people don't live in a big city with good public transit and/or are too cheap to pay for cabs, this could theoretically result in more DUIs.
A side issue is that this law is being pushed by a man (Tim Mulcahy) whose 20 year-old son Tyler crashed an Audi into a lake, killing himself and two of his friends. "Speed and alcohol are believed to have contributed to the accident." Last I checked, speeding and driving drunk are already against the law, no matter what the age of the driver. I really doubt that this legislation, had it been in place last summer, would have saved these three lives. If you're already ignoring two laws, what's a third? Just more money spent on bureaucracy...