Big Brothers Against Drunk Driving

I’m starting to wonder if the water that anti-drunk driving crusaders are drinking has been spiked with something.

First it wasBritish Columbia denying people a day in courtand now it’sthe Prince Edward Island chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving lobbying the federal government to allow police to conduct random Breathalyzer tests on anybody they wish.

MADD told CBC News Wednesday random testing has had a dramatic effect in other countries, with a 20 per cent decrease in deaths and injuries in countries where random breath testing is allowed.

“Now if there’s a road stop and a police officer wants to have a person provide a breath sample, they have to be suspicious first,” said Amanda Burke, president of the P.E.I. chapter of MADD. “Whereas with random breath testing they could ask anyone for a breath sample at a roadside check.”

What a great idea. Let’s do away with all that pesky probable cause and individual rights junk and let the police do whatever they want. Nothing could possibly go wrong.

There’s a reason why police have to be suspicious before the wheels of justice can make you blow in a tube. It’s the same reason why the cops can’t just knock on your door early on a lazy Sunday morning and rifle through all your stuff just because they feel like it. It should be allowed because they might find something is not a good argument for doing away with years and years of reasonable procedure designed to offer a bit of protection to the public against overzealous authorities. You can’t make criminals out of everyone just because somebody somewhere might actually be one.

Instead of wiping your hoops with the constitution and the checks and balances that exist for good reason, what needs to be focused on is the punishment end of things. Why is somebody with 10 drunk driving convictions still legally allowed to be on the road? Why are people who have injured or killed someone only getting short prison stretches if they go to jail at all? All of the awareness and educational campaigns in the world aren’t going to do any more good than they already have until an impaired driving conviction is let’s say 10 years in jail and a permanent driving ban. People know it’s wrong to get behind the wheel drunk, but until the justice system takes it seriously, why should they care about doing the right thing? I know people who have been popped for impaired, and they laugh about it over drinks while they count down the days until they can drive again. And those, those are the ones who have enough respect for the law not to drive while suspended. That’s not a sign that the punishments in their current form are working, so what good is eroding human rights for the sake of catching more people if those people are just going to come out the other side with the same attitude?

Just something to think about before the next policy meeting.

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