A great man once said, "Politics is inherently stupid." That great man was me.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Drinking and Driving

One of my genteel and esteemed colleagues here at the Blogging Tories has a post regarding the concept of 'pre-crime' in Canada. While his intent was to show that we actually have examples of 'pre-crime' legislation already, I take issue with his description of driving while intoxicated as 'pre-crime' and an example of loony left-wing interference in people's lives. 

Basically, the thrust of his argument was that the number of alcohol-related motor-vehicle deaths, while unacceptably high, is not something that justifies DUI legislation. In his words, "99.999%" of all episodes of driving while under the influence of alcohol end safely. With respect to my colleague, this is simply untrue. According to their compiled (and publicly available) statistics sheet, MADD Canada states that in 1997, 40% of 16-19 year old drivers who were killed in motor-vehicle accidents had been drinking.  And that's just fatalities - that doesn't include the number of injuries, disabilities caused, or even simply the number of DUI incidents that ended in damage to property or vehicles. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not safe. That much I thought was clearly obvious. It puts people's lives at risk. It can destroy a family forever. Arguing that it is silly to charge people for DUI if they haven't actually caused an accident yet is like arguing that we shouldn't charge someone who runs down the street tossing pipe bombs left and right simply because no one got hurt.

It seems a little odd to have to be arguing this, because it's something I thought patently obvious to everyone. Arresting people for DUI acts as a deterrent for people and can take dangerous drivers off the road before they kill or injure someone. And they will - it's only a matter of time. Arguing that DUI shouldn't be a crime is simply nonsense.

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