March 2, 2011
Over on our Facebook page, there isn’t a lot of sympathy for bar owners whose business is down because of stricter drunk driving laws.
Owners in Kamloops report that patronage has dropped anywhere between 10 and 50 per cent. Apparently, many people are afraid to have even one drink for fear of going over the limit — lowered to .05 from .08.
But here’s reaction from Facebook: “If the new law is having a positive effect on our roads, then this is a good thing. If bar owners are losing money because of it, then I would suggest getting out of the business; they’re all about making money anyway, which is driven by greed. I hope all the bars go bankrupt — it wouldn’t hurt, but only benefit society.”
Harsh words. But balance the plight of bar owners with the benefits of the lower limit. B.C. police chiefs released figures Tuesday that show deaths due to impaired driving are down 23 per cent from the same time last year.
According to an article in The Province: “Deaths from October to January were as high as 46 in 2005 and never lower than 25 deaths in any of the past 10 years. But between October 2010 and January 2011, there were only 20 drunk-driving deaths.”
The police, needless to say, want the new law left as is. And I tend to believe them. They’re the ones who have to deal with the carnage that takes place after people leave the bars.
To get an idea of how closely this hits to home, try doing a search on the word “drunk” at The Daily News website. A total of 161 headlines comes up, and many of them refer to court stories dealing with the consequences of drunk driving. The thing I find striking is that few of these stories made the front page. Could it be that drunk driving has become so commonplace that it isn’t considered big news? I’m sure the people whose lives have been shattered because of it wouldn’t think so.
If it comes down to a choice between saving lives and saving bars, then it’s really a no-brainer. The bars will have to suffer.