Imagine having a drink with dinner at a restaurant only to be pulled over on the way home and slapped with a DUI. That could happen under a proposed plan to toughen the drunk driving laws across the country, and it has restaurateurs alarmed.
The National Transportation Safety Board wants states to make it illegal to drive with a blood-alcohol content level above 0.05. Currently all U.S. states set the limit at 0.08. For some people, the lower level could mean no more than a glass of wine.
“It would have a devastating impact on the restaurant industry,” said Sarah Longwell, the managing director of the American Beverage Institute.
With a limit as low as 0.05, social drinkers would be the ones most likely to cut back when they go out to eat, she said. “You basically take away a part of the experience of dining out. When you take that element away, you take away some of the magic, the ambiance of a night out,” Longwell said.
“It could have a chilling effect on sales,” said Paul Gatza, the director of the Brewers Association, a trade group that represents small American brewers. For restaurants that serve alcohol, beer sales generally account for about 10 to 20 percent of their revenue while wine and spirits make up another 10 to 20 percent, Gatza said.
The whole hospitality industry will take a hit, Longwell said. “It impacts servers, bartenders, suppliers, ” Longwell said.
The new blood-alcohol proposal is based on research that shows impairment begins with the first drink. “The research clearly shows that drivers with a BAC above 0.05 are impaired and at a significantly greater risk of being involved in a crash where someone is killed or injured,” NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman said Tuesday in announcing the proposal.
More than 100 countries already have BAC limits at 0.05 or lower, according to the NTSB.
The NTSB is targeting the annual rate of 10,000 fatalities caused by drunk drivers, but reducing the blood alcohol level fails to impact the heavy drinkers who drive above the 0.15 percent level and who are responsible for over 70 percent of drunk-driving fatalities, according to American Beverage Institute numbers. “It will have a tremendous impact on the moderate social drinker and almost no impact on the hard-core drinkers,” Longwell said.
The Distilled Spirits Council echoed that sentiment. “We join with other organizations, including those engaged in traffic safety, in maintaining our strong support for the strict enforcement of the .08 BAC level and continuing the fight against hardcore drunk drivers. Progress has been made in decreasing alcohol-related traffic fatalities. Reducing the BAC level will not be an effective strategy,” the council said in a statement.
Even Mothers Against Drunk Driving said Tuesday it appreciates the NTSB’s attention to the issue, but will keep its own advocacy focused on its Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, which backs the current .08 limit, calls for high-profile law enforcement and in-car breathalyzers for offenders.
One sector the new level would help is retail sales of alcohol, said Libby Bierman, an analyst at Sageworks, a private-company data expert firm. “It might encourage people to drink at home or pick up something and take to a friend’s house,” she said.
Beer, wine and liquor store profits have been on the upswing since 2009, according to the Sageworks data collected from private companies across the U.S. “This whole industry has always done well, even during the recession,” Bierman said.
Overall, the private beer, wine and liquor stores never dipped into the red like many other industries during the worst of the recession. They posted a 0.87 percent net profit margin in 2009 and that climbed to 2.88 percent for 2012, according to Sageworks’ numbers.
The NTSB plan was proposed Tuesday along with other enforcement measures including the use of in-vehicle drunk-detection technology and targeting of repeat offenders. States have the power to set their own blood-alcohol limits, which have all remained at .08 since 2004. The NTSB first issued the .08 recommendation in 1982. The amount of alcohol required for intoxication varies among individuals based on weight, tolerance and other factors.
Although the law banning drivers’ under 18, from using their cellphone while driving, comes into effect on May 14, 2013, it has many exceptions which young driver’s can use in a defence to this ticket, which doesn’t affect their insurance or driving record and only carries a $25.00 fine, if convicted. Young drivers can use their cellphones (without risking a ticket) under the following conditions: the phone can be used under these conditions: 1. during a medical emergency; or 2. when reporting a safety hazard or requesting assistance relating to a safety hazard; or 3. reporting criminal activity or requesting assistance related to a criminal activity; or 4. when communicating to a parent or legal guardian.
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah law banning teens younger than 18 from using a cellphone while driving becomes effective Tuesday.
The law, House Bill 103 sponsored by Rep. Lee Perry, R-Brigham City, and Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, is designed to protect new drivers from distraction as they develop and hone their driving skills.
While the new law prohibits drivers up to 18 years old from talking on a cellphone, there are exceptions designed to maintain safety.
These exceptions include using a cell hone to report a medical or safety hazard, to request assistance related to a safety hazard, to report criminal activity, to request assistance related to a criminal activity or to communicate with a parent or legal guardian, said Rolayne Fairclough, Utah AAA spokeswoman.
There is a $25 fine for the offense, which is a nonreportable violation.
Fairclough said this is the newest law directed at teen drivers. Previous laws include the Graduated Driving Laws, which include extra hours of practice time before getting a license, a passenger limitation component and a nighttime ban for new drivers.
An anti-texting law for all drivers also makes the driving experience safer for teens.
Laws designed to protect teens during their early years of driving are effective. According to the Utah Highway Safety Office’s 2010 Utah Crash Summary, teen fatal crashes have declined 53 percent since the first Graduated Driver Licensing Law was enacted.
“Even though teen fatal crashes have been reduced through teen driving laws, we know young drivers are still overly represented in crashes. Teens make up 8 percent of the drivers but were in 21 percent of all crashes in Utah,” said Perry, who is a lieutenant with the Utah Highway Patrol.
“This law addresses a major safety concern we have with young drivers. We know from recent surveys that the majority of high school students admit to talking on a cellphone while driving,” he said.
“Cellphone use is the leading driver distraction in Utah. A number of businesses recognize this and are now banning their employees from using a cellphone while driving on company business,” Hillyard said.
“This new cellphone law, coupled with the anti-texting law, will help keep driver distractions at a minimum, resulting in safer roads for all Utahns,” he said.
But for some the law comes late.
“No one can tell me that you can safely use a cellphone and drive,” said Elissa Schee, mother of a child recently killed out of state when a trucker, talking on a cellphone, hit the school bus in which she was riding.
“My daughter was in a big, yellow school bus. The trucker, who hit the bus, admitted he did not see it, even though he was following the bus. That is what cognitive distraction causes when you are using a cellphone and trying to drive,” said Schee, who recently moved to Utah.
“We hope that this law will give parents the opportunity to talk with their teen drivers and explain that using a cellphone while driving is not an option for their family,” Fairclough said, a legislative advocate for the law.
“Changing behavior is difficult, but if everyone on the road recognizes the importance of driving without distraction and reminds others to concentrate on their driving, our roads will be safer,” Fairclough said.
AAA Utah offers a wide array of automotive, travel, insurance, DMV, financial services and consumer discounts to more than 183,000 members. AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers since being founded more than 100 years ago.
Utah House Bill No. 103 – Wireless Telephone Use Restrictions
Two people have been injured after an experimental flying car crashed into a tree Friday morning near a school in Vernon, B.C.
The aircraft clipped a fence behind Vernon’s Ellison Elementary School, hit the tree and crashed a few metres from school property just before 9 a.m. PT.
Made by a Florida company, the flying car is a combination of a plane engine, propeller and parasail attached to a dune buggy.
RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk said there are indications the contraption had taken off from the airport in Vernon.
“It looked like it was on its approach,” Molendyk said. “There was motor sound and people looked up and it got into trouble and came through the fence and into the trees here.”
Molendyk said the pilot and his passenger had to be pulled from the tree. They suffered minor injuries and were taken to hospital. They have since been released.
No one was hurt on the ground, although children from the school were preparing on the nearby grounds for a track and field day.
The Maverick can travel at speeds up to 160 kilometres per hour on land and up to 65 kilometres per hour in the air.(www.mavericklsa.com)
It’s believed Kelowna, B.C., resident Ray Siebring recently brought the fifth-ever flying car to Canada as a prototype and has been checking it out in a series of test flights across the Okanagan.
A release from the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) confirmed the flying car was “an American corporately registered I-Tech Maverick SP Powered Parachute” that had crashed.
The vehicle, known as “Maverick,” uses a 100-metre runway to take off and flies under a parasail. But it also needs a 100-metre runway to make a safe landing.
According to the manufacturer’s website, the car can travel at speeds up to 160 kilometres per hour on land and up to 65 kilometres per hour in the air. It costs at least $94,000 to purchase, according to the site.
This will be the fourth (4th) time that the Ontario’s Liberal government will attempt to implement a “Wireless Consumer Protection Bill”. Ontario lags behind other provinces (Quebec, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia); even the CRTC has laid out a national wireless code it hopes to release this summer. Similar to laws passed in Quebec, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia, the proposed act would legislate “plain-language” cellular contracts and cap the costs of cancelling fixed-term agreements at $50.
Ontario intends to introduce new legislation that would, if passed, create new rights for cell phone and wireless contract consumers.
Full Disclosure of Goods and Services
The legislation would, if passed, help consumers understand exactly what they are contracting for.
Providers would need to clearly explain which services are included and which would result in added costs, how services can be accessed, and what rates and restrictions apply (for example, if a long-distance plan is within Ontario only)
Contracts would need to include the retail value and the actual cost to the consumer of phones provided free or at a discounted price
Suppliers would be obligated to disclose manufacturer’s warranty information on a phone if the supplier offers supplemental warranty coverage
Information on how cancellation fees are calculated would have to be included in the agreement
Companies would have to provide clear information on how roaming costs are calculated and when they will be incurred, and whether a cell phone is locked, for how long, and the cost, if any, to unlock it
Comprehensive, Easy-to-Understand Agreements
The proposed legislation would, if passed, ensure contracts include clear disclosure of key terms consumers can understand. Companies would have to provide an agreement in a form that a consumer can keep, such as an electronic document that can be printed.
If a copy of the agreement is not provided to a consumer at the time it is signed or the company does not make all the disclosures the legislation requires, including all the key terms of the contract, a consumer would have the right to cancel the agreement within one year of signing and the company would need to refund all payments made under the contract to the consumer.
The proposed legislation would, if passed, require companies to have a consumer’s consent if a fixed-term contract is to be amended, renewed or extended. This means consumers would have to agree to any change to the agreement before it is made.
Automatic contract renewal of a fixed-term contract would no longer be allowed. Consumers would be protected against loss of service by permitting fixed-term contracts to become month-to-month contracts on the same terms of their expired fixed-term contract. Consumers would receive copies of all amended or renewed agreements.
Under the proposed legislation, wireless services providers would have to include the total cost of an agreement in any price advertisements so prices are transparent. This means that the all-inclusive cost would need to be the most prominent price information shown in the advertisement.
Cancel Agreements at Any Time With Caps on Cancellation Fees or No Fee at All
The proposed legislation would, if passed, give consumers the right to cancel a wireless services agreement at any time by giving notice to their provider. The cost to cancel would depend on the type of agreement.
Type of contract
Is cell phone provided free or at a discount?
Month to month
No cell phone provided
Cell phone provided free or at a discount
Customer could be required to pay back a proportion of the value of the discounted phone; e.g., the consumer gets a cell phone valued at $200 for free, for a one-year contract. If cancelled after six months, the consumer would need to pay $100.
No cell phone provided
10 per cent of price of outstanding services up to $50 maximum.
Cell phone provided free or at a discount
Customer could be required to pay back a proportion of the value of the discounted phone; e.g., a $500 phone provided at $100 ($400 discount), for a one year term, the cancellation cost would be calculated based on the time remaining in the agreement. If cancelled after three months, the consumer would owe $300.
Under the proposed legislation, consumers could not be charged for services they could not access because their hardware was being repaired while under warranty. If a customer received a loaner phone while their phone was being repaired, the loaner phone would need to be provided free-of-charge. This would not apply to phones that are not covered by warranty.
Protection Against Wrongful Billing
The proposed legislation, if passed, would see no charges billed to a customer for use of a lost or stolen phone after the reported lost or stolen date.
Ontario is taking steps to ensure that consumers are provided with clear information and fewer surprises when they enter into cell phone and wireless services contracts.
The province intends to introduce legislation that, if passed, would make it easier to understand the costs and terms of wireless services contracts. The legislation would also ensure wireless services providers are clear with information before contracts are signed.
The proposed legislation, if passed, would benefit wireless consumers by:
Requiring contracts to be written in plain language
Ensuring contracts clearly outline which services come with the basic fee, and which would result in a higher bill
Requiring providers to get consent from the consumer before amending, renewing or extending a fixed-term contract
Enforcing a cap on the cost of cancelling a contract or no fee at all, making it less expensive for consumers to walk away from fixed-term contracts
These proposed reforms would protect the rights of consumers while furthering the new Ontario government’s commitment to building a strong economy and a fair, safe and informed marketplace.
Approximately eight out of 10 Ontario families have a wireless services agreement.
Canadian senate, with senators seated. In an unusual move, the Senate had already passed Bill S-7 (Combating Terrorism Act) through the Senate, and has been awaiting third reading in the Commons for months, but was rushed suddenly into debate on Monday in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. Normally, government bills are debated in the House of Commons and are then sent to the Senate.
Preventive arrests and investigative hearings return, terrorism-related penalties increase.
A bill that would revive some provisions of Canada’s Anti-terrorism Actpassed in the House of Commons last night.
The Liberals joined the Conservatives to pass the bill — known asS-7, the combating terrorism act — by a vote of 183 to 93. It would bring back two central provisions that were originally instituted by the Jean Chrétien government after the Sept. 11 attacks in New York in 2001 but were “sunsetted” after a five-year period.
This new law will allow “preventive detention” for 3 days on a mere “suspicion” and will impose probationary conditions, if refused, will land the individual in jail, for up to 12 months. If an individual refuses to answer questions in an “investigative hearing”, he/she will go to jail for up to 12 months. The one (1) year imprisonment appears to be a common theme running through this new law. Bill S-7 “Combating Terrorism Act“ amends the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act and the Security of Information Act.
One allowed for “preventive detention“, meaning someone can be held without charge for up to three days just on suspicion of being involved in terrorism. The person can then be bound by certain probationary conditions for up to a year, and if he or she refuses the conditions, can be jailed for 12 months.
The second provides for an “investigative hearing“ in which someone suspected of having knowledge of a terrorist act can be forced to answer questions. The objective is not to prosecute the person for a criminal offence, but merely to gather information.
Above, the Supreme Court of Canada. The first individual charged and convicted under Canada’s former “Anti-terrorism Act“, Mohammad Momin Khawaja, appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court of Canada. Not only did the Supreme Court of Canada reject Mr. Khawaja’s appeal, but on December 14, 2012 it unanimously upheld the Anti-terrorism Act and stated that “violent acts” are not protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
If he or she refuses, that person can be imprisoned for up to 12 months. When the Harper government, during its first term, tried to bring back the terrorism measures in 2007, the Liberals opposed the move. Now, however, the government has Liberal support and only the official Opposition, the NDP, is protesting the bill.
Bill S-7 would also amend the Criminal Code and other acts to increase existing penalties for certain terrorism-related offences and introduce new terrorism offences to prohibit individuals from leaving Canada for the purpose of committing terrorist acts, among other changes.
The bill has already been through the Senate, and has been awaiting third reading in the Commons for months, but was rushed suddenly into debate on Monday in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. A final vote expected Tuesday was deferred for a day.
Opposition critics have accused the government of trying to exploit the events in Boston and have skeptically pointed out the coincidence of pushing the bill to debate on the same day a major terrorist arrest was announced in Toronto.
In debate, the NDP pointed out it had proposed 17 amendments to the bill at the committee stage, but all were rejected by the Conservatives, who dominate the committee. The Liberals proposed no amendments.
The first individual charged and convicted under Canada’s former “Anti-terrorism Act“, Mohammad Momin Khawaja, appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court of Canada. Not only did the Supreme Court of Canada reject Mr. Khawaja’s appeal, but it unanimously upheld the Anti-terrorism Act on December 14, 2012.