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Old 10-17-2010, 02:04 PM   #4
wouldu like some tinfoil?
bmdbley'sBro's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: in your attic!
Posts: 4,670
madd & the war against drunk driving gave us Road blocks/ 'dui' checkpoints, in very much the same way 'car racing' fatalities (1 every 2yrs) gave us the 50 over stunting law

now its getting to the point where they want the cops to be able to detain & 'test' you with no cause or reason - just cause they can! equals more road blocks & crap.


Freedom infringed

The Ottawa Citizen October 13, 2010 Comments (12)

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is one of those rare organizations that has changed society for the good*. In the 30 years since its founding, MADD has helped stigmatize drunk drinking and thereby save countless lives. (* road blocks & searches for nohting is 'for the good'? )

However, its latest campaign is misguided. MADD Canada wants the federal government to enact legislation that would allow police to conduct random breath testing.

It seems to be a popular idea. In 2009, a parliamentary committee recommended changing the law to allow such testing. Other countries already do it. An Ipsos Reid poll earlier this year, commissioned by MADD, found 77 per cent of Canadians supported the idea. Hundreds of deaths would be prevented, thousands of injuries avoided and billions in social costs saved, MADD speculates.

With so much support and so many benefits, who could object? Well, there are a few issues that warrant consideration. Currently, police are able to stop vehicles and ask drivers if they've been drinking, but police still need reasonable suspicion -- slurred speech, unsteadiness, the smell of alcohol -- to detain drivers and compel them to take a breathalyser. MADD's proposal would eliminate the need for probable cause. Police would be able to stop and detain anyone at random, with or without cause, and force them to take a breath test -- whether they'd had a drink or showed signs of impairment.

As arbitrary detention goes, this might seem like a minor inconvenience. Besides, some might argue, don't police already stop us to ask for a driver's licence and proof of ownership and insurance? Haven't we grown used to searches at airports, borders and other venues?

Maybe we have, but that doesn't justify another extension of state authority. A good liberal society is always on the watch for creeping authoritarianism.

MADD is understandably keen to save lives, especially young lives, but obtrusive measures like MADD's serve to promote the erosion of respect for authority. People begin to resent rules and regulations. They obey, but grudgingly.

At the very least, breath tests are a psychological violation of a fundamental principle of our legal system: The presumption of innocence. Anyone who has a glass of wine with dinner, sips a beer on the patio or toasts newlyweds with a flute of champagne is suddenly a potential criminal. Arbitrary breath tests represent an even greater violation. It is a bad idea to pass laws that create conditions whereby even law-abiding citizens, drinkers and non-drinkers begin to resent the police.

Balancing public safety and state authority is always a delicate act. Usually these debates surface with regards to anti-terrorism policy, but in fact the average Canadian is more likely to be killed in a drunk driving accident than in a terrorist attack. MADD is right: Drunk driving is a scourge.

Yet we mustn't let the desire for safer roads render us insensitive to infringements of basic freedoms. Indiscriminate or random breath testing at police checkpoints, presumably set up on public roads, would represent such an infringement.

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