Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Dial "A" for Arbitrary

Drinking and driving should be legal.

Not all drinking and driving though. I'm not some kind of radical libertarian, you know. I recognize the need for restrictions. No, only certain types of drinking and driving should be legal...

It should be illegal if you get all hammered up on Canadian whiskey, bourbon, blended scotch, domestic beer, red wine or tequila, and then get behind the wheel of a car. However, it should be perfectly legal if you drive after getting shit-faced on Irish whiskey, single-malt scotch, imported beer, white wine, gin or vodka.

If that doesn't make sense to you, it's only because you don't know "the reason". It's a very reasonable reason, but a lot of people don't know it. I know what it is, but I don't feel like telling you. Minister Ron Lemieux knows what it is too. He used the same "reason" when he drafted Bill 5: the new bill on cell phone use while driving.

Bill 5, if you're too lazy to click on the link, prohibits cell phone use while driving (among other things). But not all cell phone use. Ron Lemieux isn't some radical socialist you know. He recognizes the need for personal freedom. No, only certain types of cell phone use is prohibited...

specifically, cell phone use is prohibited unless the phone "is configured and equipped to allow hands-free use as a telephone and is used in a hands-free manner."

Is this because hands-free cells phones are safe to use while driving? No. Far from it, in fact. Numerous studies show that hands-free cell phones are just as dangerous as hand-held cell phones. In fact, I suspect that they're more dangerous because you're more likely to get involved in lengthier conversations. There are even studies that show that talking on a cell phone -- handheld or hands-free -- is just as dangerous as drinking and driving.

So why are hands-free cell phones excluded from the ban? Oh ... there's a reason. "The Reason". I'm not telling you what it is, and if you ask Ron Lemieux what "the reason" is, he probably won't tell you either. You'll just have to figure it out for yourself.


Question for those of you here in Manitoba: how many of you know that this legislation passed in June? I didn't know. I had a vague memory that this was planned from last year's throne speech coverage, but then ... nothing.

I searched the Free Press website for stories and found a lenghty story about similar legislation that was passed in Ontario, courtesy of the CP news service; and another one about legislation proposed in BC, also from the CP news service; but the only thing I could find in our trusty local rag about the Manitoba legislation was a tiny little footnote in an unrelated article.

Shouldn't our one and only non-tabloid newspaper report this kind of thing? Just today, a douche-bag talking on a cell phone made an illegal left turn in front of me. Maybe that douche-bag reads the Free Press. Maybe he wouldn't have been talking on that phone and would have been paying attention had the Freep reported the passage of this legislation in June. Just sayin' ... it would be good to know these things.


Anonymous said...

Peanut - the legislation may have been passed through the legislature, but it has not yet been proclaimed, so it is not officially in force. It often takes up to a year before legislation is proclaimed, so that the government could write regulations, engage in public education, etc.

cherenkov said...

Thanks for the clarification, Anon. It has received Royal Ascent, but only takes effect upon proclamation, which has not yet happened. I see. Well hopefully we hear something about it in the press when it does come into force, whenever that is.

unclebob said...

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