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A drunk driving video from Australia-- that MADE a difference

Bjorn, Pret pbjorn at emh.org
Tue Dec 7 13:48:41 GMT 2010

Maybe this will come as a shocker, but I'm not unconditionally alarmed
by an open beer in a driver's hand.  It's offensive, I agree, and you
won't catch me with one; but objectively, this issue is more one of
principle than substance.  

A single beer, after all, is less demanding and distracting than a smart
phone.  Or even a standard cell phone.  Or, for that matter, a double
Quarter-Pounder with the works: a bottle of beer is, if nothing else,
less apt to expel a mess of condiments into my lap as I'm approaching an
important turn.  

All that being said, I see nothing unreasonable about an open bottle
constituting probable cause for a spot sobriety test and amplified
penalties.  Indeed, such conditions may help to IDENTIFY high-risk
drivers for prosecution.

Just saying.


-----Original Message-----
From: trauma-list-bounces at trauma.org
[mailto:trauma-list-bounces at trauma.org] On Behalf Of Jel Coward
Sent: Monday, December 06, 2010 9:45 PM
To: Trauma-List [TRAUMA.ORG]
Subject: Re: A drunk driving video from Australia-- that MADE a

On 6 December 2010 05:05, Bjorn, Pret <pbjorn at emh.org> wrote:

> Looks to me as if Victoria is undergoing a CULTURAL change.  Such is,
> definition, multifactorial, multidimensional, and complex.  But the
> underlying individual drivers are not nearly as important as their
> synergy.

Really enjoying this discussion - thanks to all.

On moving to Canada (British Columbia) in 2001, after an initial setting
period, as I got to know folks and make friends.....I became _horrified_
the social acceptability of drinking and driving.

Friends I respect in many ways would get behind the wheel _with beer
in hand_.

A story told to me by a new (in the area) police officer was that when
stopped someone along a particular part of a rural road, the driver
expressed dismay and surprise, because in the past there had been an
unspoken agreement with a previous lead officer that 'once on this
(particular) road, it was ok to open up the beer'.

A friend out  here from the UK in 2003, would hitch a ride from a town
kms away (where she was working)......I was worried for her
even more so when she told me that the figure was about 50 percent for
number of drivers who would pick her up, who had an open beer.

3 years ago, by April, in this low population rural area, we had 9 young
people dead from alcohol and driving.  If they had been firearms deaths
there would have been an outcry (not a pro-firearm comment, by the way).

...and I think it was about 5 years ago when Gordon Campbell, Premier of
was arrested for drunk driving in Hawaii......and from the video, one
assume, not just a little bit drunk.  The folks he was visiting were
said to
have advised him against driving.   He did not resign.   The Canadian
barely squeeked out a bark at him.    Even as I type this now, I can't
believe that it is true.  would

The notion that this is 'cultural' is correct.   The 'culture' needs to
changed.  Cultural change is multi-factorial.....and some might say that
should start at the top, with our leaders behaving in appropriate ways.

When I left the UK, of course drink driving was (is) a problem there
too....but.....a change had taken place.......it had become socially
unacceptable to do it......drink drivers were castigated by society -
friends would not allow friends to drive home from the pub (or would
the police).
Along with this were severe penalties - blow over the limit on the
intoximeter = licence gone for 12 months, no appeal, no extenuating
circumstances........one thing that came clear to police and the public
that the morning after a drinking session many folks would still be
the limit' and the police regularly breathalyze in the mornings.  I
it is now a requirement that the police breathalyze _everyone_ who is
involved in an MVC.
....and if the Prime Minister was caught (on video that was made public)
swerving down the road because s/he was drunk.......they wouldn't last a
minutes before having to resign......the press would take care of that.

Recently BC laws were toughened - the allowed level of blood alcohol has
been reduced - police can impound a vehicle for 3 months based on a
test etc.  ........and what have we heard?.......politicians suggesting
the RCMP (police) need to be more lenient in their application of the

Enough ranting from me.

Have a safe evening.


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