Bert Millar, an Alberta farmer, was arrested for drunk driving in 2012. Millar argued that, after drinking, he had no intention of getting behind the wheel. However, some of his cattle escaped from his herd and had wandered close to a highway. He needed to drive to round up the animals before they caused a wreck.
A cow can weigh 2000 pounds – as much as a small car – and to crash into one would be lethal – the defence lawyer likened it to hitting a wall. So Millar deemed it necessary to drive to where the cows were and gather them back to safety, even though he was far from sober. In fact, after laboriously herding the cows, he passed out at the wheel.
In court, Millar triumphed. The court found that what Millar did made sense.
And we think so too. Let’s examine our amended recommendations. Formerly, we had:
- Never, ever drink and drive.
Please revise to:
- Never, ever drink and drive, unless your cattle have escaped and are placing road traffic in imminent danger.
There are those who might consider this a “slippery slope,” and that we will soon see people in Alberta getting off because they needed to drive drunk in order to feed their bull terrier or file a tax return on time. But we doubt that will happen. This was an unusual case. Some might try to claim they were avoiding worse danger and had to drive while impaired, but it’s doubtful juries will be cowed.