Change isn’t easy for most of us. Sometimes we require a little prodding to do things in a different way. This was the case when the B.C. government instituted Grant’s Law, which included a requirement for gas stations to require their patrons to pay before pumping their gas.
The law was named to remember Grant de Patie, a Maple Ridge gas station attendant, who was dragged more than seven kilometres under a stolen car during a 2005 gas-and-dash robbery for $12 worth of fuel. Initially, some gas station owners were resistant, citing increased costs to convert gas pumps to new technology. Another concern was customer complaint. Some said requiring drivers to pay before pumping gas was an unnecessary inconvenience, requiring additional time for consumers.
After the law was passed, however, a different picture emerged. The crime of gas-and-dash has been virtually eliminated, thereby saving gas companies previously lost revenue. There are also savings realized to all taxpayers as police are no longer being called out to investigate this type of crime and the justice system is no longer dealing with these types of thefts on a regular basis.
By and large, B.C. residents accepted the new system with minimal fuss. With the advent of a similar death in Ontario, Grant de Patie’s father Doug is now renewing his fight to bring in similar legislation across the country. B.C.’s experience shows a simple change such as pay-before-you-pump can have far-reaching implications, including where it counts most — helping to protect lives.