17 October 2010

The party bus drinking thing explained

When it comes to absolutely idiotic, nothing quite matches the operators of a local party bus.

No, it’s not idiotic that people apparently want to drive around St. John’s on its absolutely pathetic streets and drink alcohol in a confined space, although the thought of that never quite seemed to make sense to your humble e-scribbler.  Let’s not discuss, for the moment, the fact that one of these tarted up school buses has a zip line in it.

That’s actually another issue of potential idiocy.

No, the idiocy is the claim by the operator of one of these buses that he will continue to serve alcohol or allow alcohol but will work to ensure the people on the bus are over 19 years of age.  Police pulled over one of the buses recently and ticketed the driver under the Liquor Control Act.

This guy needs a brain, a lawyer or a lawyer with a brain.

This isn’t an issue of the legal drinking age in the province.

It has to do with the black and white words of the law:

80. (1) A person shall not drive or have the care or control of a motor vehicle as defined in the Highway Traffic Act, whether it is in motion or not, while there is contained in it, alcoholic liquor, except

(a) alcoholic liquor in a bottle or package that is unopened and the seal unbroken; or

(b) alcoholic liquor in a bottle or package that is packed with personal effects in baggage that is fastened closed or that is not otherwise readily available to a person in the vehicle.

(2) Where a person is convicted of an offence under subsection (1), the court may order that person to pay a minimum fine of $250 and a maximum fine of $500 or, in default, to imprisonment for a minimum term of 2 days and a maximum term of 7 days.

People have been done for drinking in a van parked by a picket line and used as a shelter during a labour dispute. You cannot have open liquor containers in a vehicle.


If the people operating party buses want people to be able to tipple in the vehicles, they’ll need to get a change in the law. promising to restrict drinking to people over the legal drinking age is foolish.


- srbp -


PoscStudent said...

I loved that the owner said on the news that the kids that got caught with the alcohol were the first underagers that were ever on the bus drinking.

What's also funny, to me anyways, is that one of them on the bus feel off and brok their nose.

George said...

...Not to mention that every time that thing stops, a crowd of kids urinate wherever possible but not on the bus.
Just last week, before all this, up on Signal Hill, the bus showed up and about thirty kids piled off and immediately headed for the other side of the rock wall to "take a leak"...
It's not the first time and it won'tr be the last...
Why is it that someone can start up a business like this that involves open alcohol in a vehicle and, yet, fail to check the law on vehicles and alcohol?
What gives this fella any right to circumvent the law like this?

Mark said...

It's too bad Newfoundland doesn't have an association to represent the hospitality industry. If I were a bar owner, and had to pay for a license and be subject to provincial and municipal health and safety regulations in order for alcohol to be served on my premises, I'd be pretty angry that someone else can offer a drinking venue, steal my customers and not have to comply.

Mercerch said...

Does our stance apply to limos as well? Motor homes? I think an issue here is that this law was written in a time where such vechiles were uncommon. Now they are all over. Maybe the law needs to adjust slighty.

Edward Hollett said...

If by "our stance" you mean current provincial law, then the answer is: "yes".

It is illegal to be in the care and control of a motorised vehicle with open liquor in the vehicle.

Just because something is more common does not necessarily mean that there is a need to relax the rules. The risk to life and limb is as greater or arguably is greater given the prevalence of limousines, motor homes and now these party buses.

Even if the driver is sober, the potential for a drunken passenger to create a disruption that inhibits the driver from operating the vehicle safely isn't any less just because there are 15,000 buses, motor homes and limos out there. (That is, if that is not an issue).

If prevalence of the vehicle is the basis for changing the rules maybe we should change the rules for all motorised vehicles.

On Twitter someone else pointed out the problem of alcohol on marine Atlantic ferries. Maybe we need to think about that as well.

In any event, if there is going to be a discussion let's have it. But surely to heavens you realise how stupid it is for an operator to ignore (flout is the real word) the law openly as this guy does.