New laws cre­ate scary sce­nar­ios for mo­torists

The Intelligencer (Belleville) - - OPINION - JES­SICA LAWS

New drink­ing laws are hav­ing a sober­ing ef­fect on a lot of Cana­di­ans.

Not even a month into the new year and On­tar­i­ans and Cana­di­ans alike have to ad­just to stricter poli­cies and laws for driv­ers.

The new reg­u­la­tions are tar­get­ing laws that have, in past years, been a lit­tle lax and le­nient.

In many cases you can’t deny dis­tracted driv­ing and driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol have had dev­as­tat­ing im­pacts on the lives of many in­di­vid­u­als, fam­i­lies, friends and com­mu­ni­ties.

No­body wants to see some­one get in­jured or, worse, lose a life over a text mes­sage, phone call or a night out drink­ing with the gang.

The new dis­tracted driv­ing laws that came into ef­fect on Jan­uary 1 had many peo­ple in a panic be­cause of the high cost of be­ing fined and the im­pli­ca­tions it will have on your li­cense.

Some peo­ple were just wor­ried they’d be stopped for drink­ing their cof­fee or try­ing to at­tend to a child, but the On­tario Pro­vin­cial Po­lice ( OPP) put those wor­ries to rest when they clar­i­fied they look for three main dis­trac­tion types vis­ual, man­ual and cog­ni­tive.

How­ever, it is Canada’s re­vised laws on im­paired driv­ing now mak­ing head­lines and caus­ing dis­be­lief.

Un­der the new im­paired driv­ing laws po­lice can de­mand a breath sam­ple from peo­ple in bars, restau­rants, or even at home.

And if you say no, you could be ar­rested, face a crim­i­nal record, or­dered to pay a fine, and sub­jected to a driv­ing sus­pen­sion.

You could even be in vi­o­la­tion un­der the re­vised driv­ing laws two hours af­ter you’ve been driv­ing.

Now, an of­fi­cer can de­mand a sam­ple from driv­ers for any rea­son at any time and no longer is the onus on po­lice or the OPP but on driv­ers to prove they weren’t im­paired when they were on the road.

The un­der two- hour pro­vi­sion has wildly gone un­der- re­ported and it wasn’t un­til one Mis­sis­sauga man was given a breath test af­ter re­turn­ing emp­ties to the Beer Store that many Cana­di­ans be­came aware of this loss of our own civil lib­er­ties.

There is noth­ing scarier than think­ing you can be tar­geted by po­lice for hav­ing a beer in the pri­vacy of your home sim­ply be­cause you were out driv­ing your ve­hi­cle two hours be­fore.

Un­der these new laws po­lice no longer need to have ‘ rea­son­able sus­pi­cion’ the driver has con­sumed al­co­hol.

Not only is this new law un­be­liev­able it’s hor­ri­fy­ing and ridicu­lous to think you will be crim­i­nal­ized for drink­ing in your own home or even at an es­tab­lish­ment that sells liquor.

Think of the power you are giv­ing to vin­dic­tive spouses that want to seek re­venge on their ex so they have some­thing to hold over them in court or that guy or girl who took be­ing turned down in a bar to heart.

In­no­cent peo­ple could be un­justly pros­e­cuted be­cause of this out of spite.

How can a per­son prove they were in­deed drink­ing at a bar but un­der the le­gal limit to drive home and con­tin­ued to drink in the safety of their own home?

Or how do you go about prov­ing you weren’t drink­ing at all when you were driv­ing and only be­gan when you got home?

Un­der­stand­ably, the fed­eral govern­ment brought forth these new re­vised laws to re­duce the num­ber of fa­tal­i­ties on our roads, es­pe­cially since im­paired driv­ing is the lead­ing cause of death and in­jury in Canada.

But when the govern­ment goes to re­vise and mod­ern­ize our laws do they not have enough sense to make sure the new laws put in place make ab­so­lute sense and aren’t im­ped­ing on our civil lib­er­ties?

As the laws stands right now get­ting be­hind the wheel of a mo­tor ve­hi­cle sim­ply takes a whole lot more guts in 2019 than ever be­fore.

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