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Drink and drive attitudes

Growing up in Canada, I witnessed a change in approach to drinking and driving.

As a teenager, I was aware it did happen but for the most part we got around using the bus – as passengers not drivers! I remember being aghast when my country cousins spoke of filing their car with as much gas and booze as they could afford, then drive until they ran out of one or the other. Seemed a really dumb activity to this ‘city’ kid, however we had distractions aplenty which were not so readily available in rural Manitoba.

While the laws against drinking and driving became increasingly stringent in Canada, what was more important is the shift in social attitudes. Bars promoted ‘designated drivers’ by providing free non-alcoholic drinks all evening. Services took you and your car home if you drank. Organisations like MADD – Mother’s Against Drunk Driving – pushed to tighten legislation and declared ‘war’ on drinking and driving.

And the law? While technically in the criminal code since 1925, it took the introduction of the breathalyzer in 1954 to have a tool to catch impaired drivers. By 2008, the consequences were quite clear: (more…)

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