I’m having a hard time grasping the logic of the Quebec Restaurant Association, which is fighting the idea to lower the legal alcohol limit for drivers. A representative of the restaurant industry said that reducing the limit from 0.08 to 0.05 would change consumer habits, that instead of having two glasses of wine with dinner, people would stay home and drink there instead. But isn’t that the point? Isn’t that exactly the kind of behaviour we’re trying to change?
Effectively, the restaurant association is saying that after all the public awareness campaigns, many people still haven’t gotten the message that you shouldn’t drink and drive. I’m sympathetic to restaurant owners, who face all kinds of obstacles that make their lives difficult. But the evidence from other countries, like Germany and Ireland, seems to suggest that lower alcohol limits save lives and don’t cause a drop in restaurant traffic.
And here’s the most important question: Even if those examples are wrong and a lower alcohol limit would hurt restaurants, if it reduced the number of deaths from drinking and driving, wouldn’t that be worth it?
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