Imagine the following scenario.
You leave work and make a beeline for home, intent on catching the opening kickoff of the big game.
You drive the speed limit, maybe a few clicks above, like every other driver on the road.
Perhaps a vindictive ex is the car next to you at the red light. Maybe someone else saw you swerve to avoid a pot hole. Perhaps the driver behind you simply hates the make of your vehicle.
You arrive home, enter the house, get changed, open a cold beer and plant yourself in front of the TV. The game is as exciting as anticipated and you realize you have had four beers by the time half-time arrives 90 minutes later.
You are thinking you should make some dinner.
Just then, the doorbell rings. You answer and two police officers are on your doorstep. Someone reported your vehicle as being driven by a suspected drunk driver about an hour-and-a-half ago. Can’t be me, you tell the police. You drove straight from work to home and only had your first beer once you turned on your TV. Nevertheless, you are ordered to perform a breathalyzer test and you fail.
You lose your licence for 90 days, your car is impounded, you are facing thousands of dollars in fines — all for being guilty of drinking while seated in a couch in your home.
Yes, it sounds utterly ridiculous, but that is how the law works in Canada, with an East German-style Stasi-state snitch society percolating thanks to a colossal failure by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, then-Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and every other MP in Ottawa who voted in favour of a most heinous impaired-driving law that has stripped rights from citizens.
The above scenario has already happened, although the woman targeted managed to have the province’s superintendent of motor vehicles reverse her punishment on appeal. But Lee Lowrie only prevailed because she had video proving police in Maple Ridge lied when they claimed she did not ask for a second breathalyzer test and was slurring her words. She did ask for a second test and was not slurring her speech. The fact she was charged for DUI after sitting around her sister’s pool for a couple of hours was not a factor in her successful appeal.
The law, Bill C-46, passed last December, is rightly the subject of Charter challenges and needs to be sent to the pile of bad ideas that should by now tower over Ottawa.
The new law gives police the power to demand a breathalyzer test without any signs of impairment. The test can be ordered within two hours of a driver being on the road, even after they have come home and consumed alcohol.
This asinine law is the latest in the campaign against drunk driving, but instead of focusing on the real menace on our roads — drunk drivers — it targets anyone who has had a drink and driven.
And there is a massive difference between driving drunk and driving after having a drink or two.
A Traffic Injury Research Foundation report of July 2018 contains definitive statistics that show the overwhelming majority of fatal crashes involving alcohol involve drivers who are, quite frankly, blotto, with blood-alcohol limits well in excess of the .08 legal limit.
Data from the Traffic Injury Research Foundation’s national fatality database includes police-reported crash data combined with alcohol and drug test data collected from coroners and medical examiners in every jurisdiction in Canada.
The report’s most recent exhaustive data, from 2014, showed that of drivers killed in fatal crashes in Canada, 83.2 per cent of them had a blood-alcohol concentration over .08, while 16.8 per cent registered a blood-alcohol concentration under .08
Moreover, database statistics show the average blood-alcohol concentration among fatally injured drinking drivers who were tested for alcohol has consistently been .17 over the past decade — or more than twice the legal limit.
Yes, drunk driving should be targeted by law enforcement.
But focusing on the after-work pint and wings crowd or having a law criminalize people for imbibing at home is simply wrong.