Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Silly Law

We were just pushing off from shore on our lake paddle Sunday when I realized what was missing: we hadn't put our life jackets on.

We pulled back in and put them on, then went about our way even though legally we didn't have to wear them.
This I find silly in the extreme. Under the regulations we're obligated to have enough life jackets on board to kit out each person on board.
We do not actually have to have them on.

Every season we hear about people drowning on rivers and lakes. Most of the time said drownee wasn't wearing a life jacket.
Now I'm all for using common sense approach as opposed to legislation. But in this respect common sense is not the least bit common.
This applies to both sides of the story. Common sense would dictate using a life jacket not just having it handy.
Common sense would also suggest if one is going to write a law concerning public safety then one should go the whole hog with said law.
But that does not seem to be the Province's way.
That said, Alberta likes to stick its legislative nose in everyone's business be it needed or not.
We've got some silly laws that serve no purpose and others that are window-dressing at best.
Laws get changed or created all the time and in many cases it's to make the Province look like it's doing something.

Sometimes in the late nineties a young adult riding in the back of a pick up truck got thrown out and killed as the result of an accident.
His mother got the legal ball rolling and got the Province to declare it illegal for anyone to ride in the back of a truck.
This was annoying.
Riding in the back of a truck can be safe if one does not do anything stupid.
Further, as I recall the truck driver was drunk.
This was the real issue.
Not the rider in the box, the driver.
Also, we have no idea if the young man was minding his own business and died as a result of simple misfortune and the drunk driver, or if he was drunk, too, and did something stupid while riding.
The above sounds like blaming the victim. I'm sorry. It's not supposed to. I blame the driver.
We can see how one person can make a difference, but I've yet to hear of a drownee's loved one making a fuss about wearing life jackets. That would be a sensible change.

We can't ride in a truck box.
It's against the law to have your expired insurance card in your vehicle.
It is, or at least was, against the law to have a copy of your driver's license for use.
Frankly, those last two laws are nonsense.

But wear a life jacket?
Nope, that's your call.
Do I want this changed?
Actually, no.
In this matter, sad as it may be, the only law I'd care to see applied here is survival of the fittest.

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Paddling while wearing a life jacket.

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Sensible enough to wear it, not just have it.


Chris said...

Do you have motorcycle helmet laws up there?

Leah J. Utas said...

Yes, we do, Chris. Very controversial when they were introduced and still largely despised by the biking crowd.

Tabor said...

I am ambivalent about the safety laws. Seat belts do save lives and one cannot assume that parents would not allow their children in the back of a pick-up if is was legal. Trucks go much faster, there are more cars on the roads, roads are better for speed. But on our motor boat my life jacket remains thrown over the back of my seat. While in the canoe, I always wear a life jacket.

Leah J. Utas said...

Tabor, thanks for your thoughts.If a law must intrude, then the law must make sense.

the Bag Lady said...

Ah, yes. "Safety" has become big business. Companies, in order to operate, must have safety programs in place. All because a few dimwits did something stupid.
What about natural selection? Survival of the fittest? I was taking a safety course awhile back and mentioned common sense. The instructor promptly replied "There is no common sense, only safety sense." *insert eye roll*
Some laws make sense, but others? What difference does it make if I have my expired insurance card in my vehicle, as long as I also have the current one? Sheesh.
(And I am glad that you and Mike wear your life jackets even though you don't actually have to!)

Leah J. Utas said...

Ah, yes, safety because stupid people are stupid.
Reminds me of food prep instructions like "Start with a clean coffee maker."
If someone has to be told that, then mayhap that someone ought not be in charge of the coffee.

messymimi said...

Use your brains, and remember the people you leave behind may have to clean up after you, if you choose not to use the safety precautions.

Leah J. Utas said...

Yes, those who do stupid things only think of themselves.

Hilary said...

Natural selection is fine if it only involves the doer. Sadly, morons make deadly choices for their children every day. I opted to set a good example for my kids where safety was concerned.

Leah J. Utas said...

Aye, Hilary. Good on you for setting the right example.