The only safe BAC is zero
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Aug 04, 2010  |  Vote 0    0

The only safe BAC is zero

Stratford Gazette

The provincial government has laid down the law - starting this month, drivers aged 21 and under, no matter what level of driver's licence they have, must have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of zero. The reasons are obvious - young drivers account for more than their fair share of collisions involving alcohol. Police say the peak ages for drinking and driving collisions are 19, 20 and 21. Requiring people who are inexperienced drivers and drinkers to be 100 per cent sober when they get behind the wheel seems a logical way to protect them, and everyone else on the highway.The legislation also applies to novice drivers of any age under Ontario's graduated licencing system. There will be those who say the law is discriminatory. If a person is old enough to get married without parental consent, or join the armed forces, surely he should be able to have a drink without risking losing his licence. There will also be those who correctly state that the most troublesome impaired drivers are not necessarily youngsters. While some might still "booze cruise" in a pal's junker with a case of beer, most have embraced the concept of the designated driver, calling a sober friend for a ride, or sleeping over. Some of their parents have not. These are the folks who came of age when impaired driving was not regarded as dangerous criminal behaviour, but as high spirits that got out of hand. Getting a small fine and a good talking-to for being drunk and driving the old man's car into a ditch was once almost a rite of passage.But that was then; today, drunk driving is socially unacceptable. Ontario has some of the strictest impaired driving legislation in the world. This latest change is only one in a series of increased penalties aimed at getting drunk drivers off the road. Penalties for impaired driving have had an impact on the drinking behaviour of most of us. Since the province implemented three-day licence suspensions for those whose BAC registered in the "warn" range (.05-.08), an increasing number refuse to touch any alcohol at all before driving, as even a "safe" drink or two could be too much. The only safe amount of alcohol for drivers is none.But there are some who will never get the message. To them, driving around three sheets in the wind is what they have been doing since they were old enough to get behind the wheel, and what they will continue doing until the day they die - or land behind bars. Take away their licence, they will drive without it. Take away their car, they will borrow one. Throw them in jail, they will celebrate their release by having a few drinks and driving home.The only way to stop this behavior may be to get to people before they have the chance to develop bad habits. If there were a way to totally separate drinking from driving... something like demanding novice drivers have a blood alcohol level of zero... Point made.- Wingham Advance Times

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