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In the Spanish state of Catalonia, laws are being proposed in which addicts lose licenses before their accidents even happen.

It sounds outrageous, but the foundation for such a law already exists. In 2010, legislation was introduced that would allow doctors a say in whether or not their patients should have their licenses revoked due to addiction, alcoholism, or mental health disorder.

In Spain, approximately half of all road fatalities are due to drugs and alcohol. The goal is to make road fatalities a thing of the past by 2050.

Admittedly, it seems pretty reasonable and practical on face value. However, this is not the way to achieve that.

Even taking mechanical failure, driver error, or any of the other infinite ways a crash could happen out of the equation, there are always going to be road fatalities. It is a natural consequence of manually navigating what is essentially a giant metal rocket.

Further, since the judgment relies so heavily on doctor assessment, it could keep addicts and alcoholics from seeing their physicians. If addicts lose licenses just from seeking medical treatment, there are a lot who simply will not go to the doctor anymore. Of course, that also does not take into consideration the violation of doctor/patient confidentiality. In essence, if anything, this makes the problem worse.

Not to mention, the law does nothing to address the other 50% of fatal accidents. What, then, is done to counter those accidents?

It is also dependent on alcoholics and addicts obeying the law. Alcoholics and addicts lose licenses to drive now, but that doesn’t keep many from getting behind the wheel while loaded.

Additionally, there is no way to determine who will actually become involved in a fatal accident; no one has a crystal ball. As such, it is unrealistic to prevent a group of people from doing something that they may not even do. Using that reasoning, anyone could potentially fall into that category if they look hard enough, and even if it was effective in this specific instance, it opens the door to other groups being singled-out in other situations.

Perhaps most unsettling is the marginalization of addicts and alcoholics as a group of people. Fill in any other group, and such a suggestion would be appalling. However, for some reason, it becomes perfectly acceptable on face value for addicts and alcoholics to be treated in such a way.

Strange, though, that drug and alcohol rehab would not come into play. Rather than trying to solve the issue by facilitating drug and alcohol treatment, Catalonia is looking to prevent the consequences of the illness. While the goal of protecting others is admirable, it does nothing to address the issue itself. This is potentially a very expensive way of dealing with a problem that will never end, in a country that is already destitute and trying to cope with massive unemployment.

Reasonable expectations must be had if any progress is to be made. Additionally, we should not punish an entire group for something that may not even occur, which will not solve the issue in the first place, especially when better, long-term solutions exist.

Should addicts lose licenses to drive pre-emptively?

So what do you think? Should alcoholics and addicts lose licenses to drive before ever getting into an accident? Let us know in the comments section!

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