Friday, November 21, 2008

News, Booze and the Law

So it seems that this little blog of mine (I'm gonna let it shine!) has a bit of a modest following. I say this because I've been getting requests from readers to discuss certain issues. One of which is the creation of a co-op brothel in Vancouver and another of which is the new proposed laws in Ontario regarding booze, passengers and driving. Fret not, I will get to both.

I had intended to discuss the brothel issue first but this lovely headline on CBC.ca made me shudder, so here it goes.

"Thousands join Facebook group opposing new driving rules in Ont."

Alright, so first things first. These new driving rules are two major things. First is that there will be a zero tolerance policy on any driver under 21. So if you're under 21 or have had your license for less than a year (I'll come back to this) you can't have a drop of booze in your system.

The second rule, the one that's got people really fired up, is that any driver who has had their license for less than 365 days can only have 1 passenger under the age of 19 in their car.

So that's the context.

First things first, I think that CBC.ca's use of Facebook as somehow this amazing statistical analyzer is problematic and quite frankly, lazy journalism. Facebook Groups exist on every topic under the sun and most people join a group without even thinking twice, so as far as I'm concerned, it's a non-issue. Facebook doesn't represent shit.

But as for the major issue itself, I'm of the mind to agree with the Liberal gov't. I can hear the audience now...

Sconroy, a commenter on CBC.ca sums up one of the biggest complaints against this new law

"I have been driving for nearly 4 years now, and I have earned my full G. The middle-aged mother whoever, who just earned her G2 can drive her teenager and 3 of their friends? Does that not pose the same amount of risk for distraction? Age does not automatically determine maturity or ability to focus on driving conditions. Ageism is NOT right."

Clearly Sconroy didn't read the actual law or hell, even the CBC.ca article properly because it also says
that anyone under 21 or who has only had their license for less than a year which means that if you're middle-aged soccer mom with her G2? She couldn't drive with her 3 kids either. Asshat.

And truthfully, one of the biggest complaints against this new law is that it will deter people from being designated drivers. If you can only have one passenger, then what about all the drunken bastards out there? How will they get home?

Which just goes to show that people just read the headlines on CBC. ca or on Facebook groups for that matter and don't actually comprehend it properly. The new law says that anyone under 21 or who has only had their license for less than a year can only have 1 passenger under the age of 19 in their vehicle.

Well.. considering that 19 is the legal drinking age in Ontario and "16- to 24-year-olds make up nine per cent of the population but account for 25 per cent of the fatalities and serious injuries on the roads" then it makes a whole lotta sense to me.

The truth is that young people get their license, are jacked up like crazy and drive around with the music blaring and 5 other people crammed in their parent's mini-vans or sedans. I know this because I was this person. In fact, I grew up in a house where I couldn't drive with anyone for the first 6 months that I got my license. Never mind the age limit. NOBODY. I drove alone, like the sad sap that I am, for 6 whole months. In a mini-van. Trust me, it sucked. But my parents knew that I was young, drove my parent's mini-van and loved to listen to my music loud and proud, so they put rules on me lickety split.

BUT! Looking back, I get it now. I'm an easily distracted driver and I've had my license for quite a few years now. So imagine being a novice and having a car full of people screaming, laughing, cranking the tunes, texting on their phones, etc. It's a recipe for disaster.

And the statistics prove this.

So the truth is, I hate to say it, but I agree with McGuinty on this one. I don't think it's ageism because what people keep failing to acknowledge is that it doesn't have to do with age necessarily but anyone who is in their first year of driving. So people who wait until they're 25 or 35 to get their license, it applies to them too. It's not about age but driving experience.

And since the 1 passenger rule only applies to people under 19, then it will not affect designated driving as much as people are saying. Under this new law, you can have your license for 3 months and drive 4 of your 20 year old drunken bastard friends home, no problem.

And so the hysteria surrounding OH BUT WHAT ABOUT DESIGNATED DRIVING?! isn't nearly as much of an issue as people claim. If you're under 19, you probably don't have a full license anyway which means that it's not like you're going to drive your drunk ass home by yourself. So it's easy to use it as an excuse but statistically speaking, it doesn't add up.

I think that the pros of this particular new law far outweigh the cons.

I also think that journalists need to stop being so lazy and actually do some real journalism while at the same time, critics need to know what their critiquing before they go on long ass rants and throw up their arms in digust with The Man.

The whole "Parents are just hating on the young generation! The youth generation has it so bad" schitck is often true but it's also overused.

When you're young, you are both amazing and stupid. Accept it.

1 comment:

RGB said...

Heh, seems as though there are so many rumors out there.

I've read many different "facts" on different not-so-credible, wikipedia-like websites.

You made me realize, yeah, if it's only for 1 year, then that's cool. I was under the impression it was until you were 21, regardless of how long you had been driving for, that you couldn't have any teenage passengers.

So many details in this law that are being misunderstood. Even the radio station didn't seem too convincing on what the real law will be, if it will be a law at all.

Did you know that driving while talking on a cell phone is illegal now? $500+ fine + demerit points...