And now Lorne Gunter tells me Nanny became Premier via a Tory leadership convention. She's pushing the drink driving limit down from .08 to .05 and aiming to ban smoking in cars. Writes Gunter:
When I pointed out in these pages that even the Traffic Injury Research Foundation thinks it’s a bad idea to impose harsh punishments on low-blood-alcohol drivers, and that instructing police to crack down on social drinkers will mean they have fewer resources to stop habitual drunks, who are the true problem, Ms. Redford had her Transportation Minister, Ray Danyluk, write the Post to say how wrong I was. Mr. Danyluk insisted that drivers above .05 but below the legal limit in the Criminal Code may have caused as many as 28 deaths over the past five years.And, further, do we have any clue whether that's a high or a low accident rate given the number of drivers on the road who have BAC between .05 and .08? It's impossible to tell unless the police start releasing stats on the proportion of drivers on breath-check who have that BAC - we need to know the base rate.
Yes, Mr. Danyluk, but would your premier’s intrusive new law have saved them all, or even most of them?
Bad things will continue to happen no matter how much social engineering nanny statists engage in. What’s more, on a cost-benefit basis, trying to save 10 or 15 deaths over five years (two to three a year) by harassing tens of thousands of law-abiding drivers is a poor use of resources and could lead to that many extra deaths being caused by criminally drunk drivers who will now escape detection.A statistical life is worth about $7 million. Suppose that the legislation worked and saved 5 lives per year: $35 million. Add to that a bit of reduced injury cost and property damage. But net out enforcement costs and reduced consumer surplus from folks now too scared to have a glass of wine with dinner... tough call to say there's any prima facie case that this passes cost benefit even assuming that Danyluk's numbers are right. And they're probably not because of failure to account for base rates.
But not content to stop with her pokenose new drinking and driving law — sorry, make that sipping and driving law — Ms. Rutherford now intends to crack down on smoking. She proposes to ban smoking in vehicles with passengers 16 and under and to ban the scourge of flavoured tobacco.And, Alberta has a tendency of keeping Premiers around for a while.
The American satirist H.L. Mencken once wrote that a puritan is a person with a “haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy.” Premier Redford is one of the new health and safety puritans who worries constantly that others may not be as informed as she is and so are engaging in vices that are bad for their health.