Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Zero Tolerance


The news in Toronto for the past couple of weeks has been filled with the ongoing criminal case against drunk driver Marco Muzzo. For the media the court case is filled with everything that makes for good infotainment. A rich, spoiled young man from a well to do family murders a young family while behind the wheel of a fancy car while so intoxicated he couldn't stay standing up after the event. While the media plays on the emotions of the case milking it for all it is worth, what is lost is how we treat drunk driving in Canada. 

As a culture we could end impaired driving by adopting a zero tolerance policy. We know that more often than not that the perpetrators are men. We live in a culture that valourizes drinking and holding one's liquor as a masculine attribute. What we need to change are our cultural attitudes not only towards drinking but also towards impaired driving. 

Imagine if we imposed a zero tolerance policy that automatically marked anyone who drove under the influence as a criminal. Anyone caught, no matter their blood alcohol level should automatically loose their license and never be allowed to drive again. We need to divest our culture of the idea that drunk driving is a mistake and that perpetrators deserve a second chance. When these mistakes result in the deaths of others those causing these deaths should face sentences of 2nd degree murder. After all a car is no less deadly a weapon than a gun or a knife. Wielding either while impaired should be treated as irresponsible behaviour and punished accordingly. 

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