Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Good Intentions

But a flawed action.

Ontario is introducing new regulations regarding young drivers. Note that I said young drivers not new drivers. Therein lies one of the biggest flaws of the regulations.

Now I understand that new drivers (who are generally young) tend to have higher accident rates. That is why I wholeheartedly support schemes such as Graduated licensing. And yes younger people (and some older ones) tend to focus more than they should on loud music or visiting with friends than the road at times. But these regulations appear overly onerous and I am not sure they meet the spirit of equal rights legislation. I doubt a Charter challenge would work because driving itself is not a right, but the regulations do single out an identifiable group for special treatment under the law, which seems to go against the intention of the Charter.

Among the regulations:
  • Anyone under 21 must have a zero blood alcohol reading. -- I can support this one in principle but why onloy for one age group. Either drinking is legal or it isn't. Either a certain level is allowable (and I am all in favor of lowering that level from .o8) or it isn't. AGe is not relevant. SO a 2o year old goes for a drink after work or has a glass of wine with supper and then has to wait around for an hour until going home???????
  • Young drivers caught speeding (at any speed over the limit) get a 30 day suspension for a first offence. THen 90 days for a second. Then a revocation of license (and start again in the graduated licensing system) for a third. -- Again, why just young drivers? I support stronger penalties for speeding. But this seems a little over-the-top for any age.
  • New drivers under 21 can only have one other teenager in the car with them. -- and in a rural area with no other transport available?
Needless to say there has already been some backlash. Like this for example And I have to think that the complaints are partially well-founded.

YEs there have been tragic accidents invovling young people and speed and lots of people in the car. Same with older people. But these regulation (IMO) go too far. And I am not sure they really teach what is meant to be taught...

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