What do we lack to understand the danger of drinking and driving?

December is the occasion to remind people that alcohol and driving do not mix. It is generally a period when there is an increase in travel, where there are several parties with alcohol consumption and where there are, consequently, more unhappy and tragic stories. However, we know that it is a bad idea to drive while intoxicated and that it is even criminal from an alcohol level of 0.08. So why can’t we solve this social problem? In-depth reflection is required.

Do not take for granted that after December, all of Quebec will respect the blood alcohol limit. Despite awareness campaigns and police operations, thousands of Quebecers are intercepted throughout the year. For 2021, it has been reported that already more than 4,500 people have been arrested for this reason. To this, we must add the people who, in the same situation, do not get caught … If there are, in this group, people in a situation of dependence and repeat offenders, there are also many “ordinary people”. “.

Drunk driving causes hundreds of deaths and serious injuries each year. Not to mention the property damage, legal costs, mourners and even the pet of the little neighbor who ended up under wheels. All of these consequences are preventable.

Alcohol interferes with driving in several ways, for example by delaying reaction time, reducing attention span and causing drivers to act recklessly. Even if we think we are “good enough to drive” at 0.08, science has shown the opposite. People with blood alcohol levels between 0.05 and 0.08 are four to six times more likely to be fatal than those with less than 5 g of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. This is not trivial! Driving with an alcohol level between 0.05 and 0.08 is not as moderate or as responsible as previously thought. As a precaution, we must change and lower the allowable limit, as all the other provinces have already done. You read that correctly, all the other provinces.

Let’s not forget that we often misjudge our alcohol level… especially if we have had a drink! A survey found that half of people underestimate their blood alcohol level. By aiming for a lower rate, we reduce our individual and collective risks.

You don’t have to wait for a law change to make the personal and intelligent choice to avoid driving above 0.05. The life of a person who hurts or kills another is also a life ruined by incurable guilt.

Quebecers are as capable as other Canadians of getting used to a new blood alcohol limit. There are many strategies to avoid driving after drinking too much: designated driver, public transport, taxis and escort services, breakdown assistance by relatives, sleeping on site, breathalyzer tests, etc.

There are also more alternatives to alcohol. There are several tasty options to explore and offer guests. You can also take home a bottle of wine that has not been emptied. Nobody wants to end a nice outing with an amicable report, a stay in the hospital or a night at the police station… or in the morgue.

Together, let’s change our perception of a safe “0.08” and see drinking and driving differently, consistent with science, pleasure and the only life we ​​have.

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