BC’s Liberal Government has been busy patting itself on the back for having some of North America’s toughest drunk driving laws. Basically, anyone blowing .05 BAC faces huge fines with the possibility of having her/his vehicle impounded. Apparently, the hospitality industry is feeling the decline in revenues as people are no longer stopping in for a beer or six on the way home. Additionally, there have been complaints that police are impounding too many vehicles. None of this really makes sense because if no one is drinking in the restaurants and pubs then whose vehicles are being impounded but I digress.
As of today, the Liberals are talking about changing this very progressive piece of legislation. One might ask why? Do we think that drinking and driving is no longer an issue? I doubt it. Instead it would seem the Liberals are running scared as their numbers are low, Gordon Campbell has resigned and there is no heir apparent. The Liberals have always been sensitive to business and protecting its interests. Already stinging from the HST, the hospitality industry is suffering. The BC Liberals are responsible for both pieces of legislation and they can’t really repeal the HST at this point.
The role of government in society is to protect the citizenry from the action of others. Governments pass laws to regulate and they prosecute when laws are broken. Governments are supposed ensure that business activities do not endanger the public good. For the government to consider repealing legislation designed to protect the public because a certain type of business is suffering is a clear abandonment of their fiduciary responsibilities. As a society we are not here to ensure the short-term viability of any industry. If their business model is not sound enough to withstand some changes in legislation then perhaps there is something wrong with the model.
Drinking and driving is a very serious societal problem. Driving a car is a privilege it is not a right. Any amount of alcohol or other mind-altering substances impedes our ability to drive. Nothing good ever comes from drinking and driving. People die as a result of drinking and driving. All of this makes one wonder why our government would even consider allowing more drunk drivers on the road legally.