Drunk Driving Legislative Session
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1. Students will discuss policy reasons for enacting a law to deal with driving under the influence of alcohol or (other) drugs.
2. Students will draft a law to deal with driving under the influence of alcohol or (other) drugs.
3. Students will analyze Nova Scotia's law against driving while intoxicated (DWI) and compare it to the law they draft.
One class period (approximately 50 minutes)
One copy of Handout 1 (Drafting a Law) for each student
One copy of Handout 2 (Driving While Intoxicated - Nova Scotia Laws) for each student
Six large sheets of paper
1. Introduce the topic by asking students whether driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a problem in their town or city. Ask why there might be a need for a law related to DWI.
2. Brainstorm with students for about five minutes. Ask students what should be included in a DWI law. In other words, what issues should the law address? On the board, list any issues the students raise. For example:
• What should be the overall purpose of the law?
• Are drugs included in the law, as well as alcohol?
• What level of drugs and/or alcohol?
• How do you determine who should be stopped and tested?
• How is the refusal to be tested handled?
• What penalties should be enforced?
• Should the law treat those under 21 years of age differently than those 21 years and older? With the help of students, pick the five or six most important issues to include in the law.
3. Divide students into groups of three to five students. There should be the same number of groups as the number of issues you decided to include in the draft DWI law (five or six). Assign each group one issue.
4. Pass out Handout 1 to each group. Review the directions in the Handout, which describe what each group should do. Ask students if they understand the assignment. Allow 15 minutes for the groups to draft their provisions of the law. Ask each group to print its portion of the law on a large piece of paper.
5. Ask a spokesperson from each group to describe the part of the law the group drafted. Lead the class to discuss and analyze the law by asking questions including:
• What is the purpose of this part of the law, and will it achieve that purpose?
• Is it clear and understandable?
• Is it enforceable?
6. After each group has presented its part of the law, pass out Handout 2, which covers selected provisions of Nova Scotia's statute. Give them up to 10 minutes to review at least the portion of the law that corresponds with the section they wrote. Ask students to compare the two laws by asking questions such as:
• Which law is easier to read and understand?
• Which law do you think is more effective?
• Should Nova Scotia's law be revised?
• What would you add or change?
7. Share your experience in dealing with DWI cases. Other areas that could be discussed (time permitting) are Nova Scotia's open container law and the loss of driving privileges for alcohol offenses.
DRAFTING A LAW
1. Select a student reporter to write down the sentences for the final ordinance drafted by the group. Also, select a spokesperson to explain the ordinance to the rest of the class. All members of the group should work on drafting the ordinance as it is discussed.
2. Discuss the purpose of the part of the ordinance you are drafting. Agree on one sentence to summarize the purpose behind that provision.
3. Draft a paragraph to cover your issues.
4. As you are writing, think about these questions:
Is your law clear and understandable?
Is it enforceable?
DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED
Nova Scotia Law
GET AT LEAST ONE COPY FOR EACH GROUP (ONE FOR EACH STUDENT WOULD BE BETTER)