Legal Alien: A Scotsman in Montreal


Here's a question, how far does your responsibility extend when it comes to drink driving? We are forever being told that you should take someone's keys from them if you believe they are going to be a menace or a danger on the road. But you can't really do that if you don't know the person. What else can you do, pay for a taxi? But not many people are preapred to shell out money to someone they don't know - so just how well do you need to know someone before you take action?

I say all this cos on Saturday I was at a restaurant and there was a guy there who was hammered, and he was driving. I had never met the guy before, but I sure as hell wouldn't have wanted to get in a car in him, or been in a car on the same street as his. However, at the end of the night, people just let him go. I think someone gave him a brief test, touch the end of your nose with your fingers, which he failed completely but they still let him drive home. I was a little perturbed by this, I thought someone should have persuaded him to get a taxi. Question is, should I have done sthg? I just didn't feel in a position to do sthg and in the end I didn't even know he had left.

Whilst talking to my room-mate about this, I became aware of a cultural difference (say it ain't so!) I think drink-driving is more of a taboo in the UK than America. Well, that's the way it seems amongst my friends anyway. Whenever someone is driving to the bar in the UK, they generally won't drink anything at all during the night. This duty then revolves around a bunch of friends so that no-one is always the driver. I got the impression this wasn't the case over here. It's not uncommon for someone to drive when they know they're completely bombed. Maybe it's just cos I've always lived in the city where you don't need to drive far to the bar. But even when in rural Wales there was always a designated driver who went round and picked people up from villages all around before heading to the pub.

That's not to say that the roads are any safer in the UK or that there are less drink-drivers, I just noticed an attitude difference amongst the people I hung out with. Does anyone else find this?