It’s kind of sad that we’re still debating the issue of drinking and driving. Yet people continue to get behind the wheel after knocking back a few drinks when they really should have just called a taxi or an Uber.
That’s why the government is looking to change things up by decreasing the legal blood-alcohol limit in the near future — they hope to further deter people from making a decision they could wind up regretting for the rest of their lives.
Right now the legal limit is 0.08 per cent, or 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. But Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has proposed lowering that limit to 0.05 per cent (or 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood) following research that found the risk of being involved in a car crash is twice as likely when a driver has a 0.08 per cent blood-alcohol level.
While we’re behind the idea of people not driving while intoxicated, the announcement has obviously been met by opposition from those who run bars. Political watchers have also pointed out that, with the legalization of marijuana coming soon, officials may be biting off more than they can chew.
Still, others are questioning what lowering this limit will really do, as they wonder if increasing the police presence and RIDE programs outside of bars, or even giving servers the power to stop drunk people from driving before they leave would be money better spent.
Fair arguments, we suppose.
So if the government does go ahead and lower the legal drinking limit, what would that actually look like? Well for an average person, one drink (a 12-ounce beer, a five-ounce glass of wine or a shot) increases your blood-alcohol level anywhere from 0.02 per cent to 0.05 per cent, depending on your weight and metabolism. Hypothetically, that could mean one drink and you’re done. Two drinks would put some people over that 0.08 per cent threshold, especially if they were consumed too quickly.
We’re sure we’ll be hearing lots more on this debate in the coming weeks, especially from restaurant-goers and bar owners who feel like this move will deter people from drinking. But what’s more important here: staying safe and alive, or drinking that extra beer? Besides, if people are already splurging on a night out, what’s a few extra bucks on a cab or Uber anyhow?
And so the debate continues…