Jan 13, 2014 - EDITORIAL: PENALTIES FOR DRUNK DRIVERS WHO KILL SHOULD BE INCREASED


Will the senseless cycle of carnage on our roads never end?

Recently, 20-year-old Francis Pesa died from his injuries after a Jan. 1 crash caused by an alleged drunk driver.

On the same day, Jan. 6, a 23-year-old pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death in a crash that took the life of 17-year-old Brandon Thomas just over a year ago.

By all accounts, these were outstanding young men with bright futures ahead.

Francis had just returned to Calgary from the Philippines, where he had been helping out in the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan. He was driving on Metis Trail when police say a Dodge Ram crossed the centre line and crashed into his BMW. Kulwinder Singh Chohan, 36, faces impaired driving charges.

Ironically, Francis went out of his way to regularly drive his friends home from parties to ensure they arrived safely.

Brandon was a popular teen known for his joy of living. Dozens of his friends turned out in support at court dressed in black hoodies bearing anti drunk-driving messages.

His life ended Dec. 6, 2012, when a pickup driven in the wrong lane by Ryan Jordan Gibson smashed head-on into his Subaru on Highway 22 near Cochrane.

Crown and defence lawyers want a sentence of two years plus one day for the drunk driver whose blood alcohol content was between 0.17 and 0.18.

Gibson, who is apparently “extremely remorseful,” has ruined his own young life, but will at least have a chance to change as he grows older — an opportunity his victim will never enjoy.

Brandon’s mother Kim says a two-year sentence is a “slap in our face.”

She is a member of Families for Justice, which has collected 50,000 signatures calling for a five-year minimum sentence for impaired driving causing death.

The group also wants the name of the charge changed to vehicular manslaughter, which only makes sense. It’s time to stop pussy footing around the homicidal act of getting blotto and heading out on a road full of innocent motorists.

We’d never be as tolerant of someone who pointed a loaded gun at a crowd and took a shot. A two-ton chunk of speeding steel controlled by some loaded lout is lethal as any firearm.

Awareness of the dangers of this behaviour is at an all-time high, thanks to groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Penalties and enforcement against those who drink and drive are getting tougher.

There are no excuses for those who fail to heed the message and there is no compelling reason why those who drive drunk and kill should receive lenient treatment.

With more than 1,000 Canadians dying every year from impaired-related crashes, it’s time to elevate the consequences for the most serious drunk driving crime to a level that reflects the amount of grief and the lifetime of anguish it causes to those left behind.

Source: The Calgary Herald


 

Last updated on: 2014-01-15 | Link to this post