In response to a series of suspected impaired driving collisions, including one on Western campus Wednesday night that left an 18-year-old woman in critical condition, an official with MADD Canada says more needs to be done to keep those who are impaired from getting behind the wheel.

Wednesday night’s collision remains under investigation by police, but multiple charges, including impaired operation causing bodily harm and having in excess of 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood, have been laid against a 24-year-old London man.

The collision comes less than two weeks after a fatal collision in Vaughan that left three young children and their 65-year-old grandfather dead. A 29-year-old man is facing a dozen counts of impaired driving in the collision.

The spate of impaired driving incidents puts current legislation into question, says Mary Rodrigues, President of MADD Canada’s London chapter, who notes other developed countries, like Germany, have taken different approaches to impaired driving.

“Their (Germany’s) alcohol consumption is more than double ours, and yet only 9% of their total collisions involve alcohol or drugs,” said Rodrigues on The Craig Needles Show Thursday. “And yet, in Canada, 40% of our collisions involve alcohol and/or drugs.”

A 2013 report from MADD Canada says, in 2008, Canada’s per capita rate of alcohol-related crash deaths was more than five times that of Germany, even though their alcohol consumption was higher than Canada’s.

According to statistics from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Canada’s alcohol consumption in 2008 was 8.2 Liters per capita while Germany’s was 11.4.

The report said while Canadians tended to drink less than residents from other comparable countries, they were far more likely to be killed in an alcohol-related crash.

Rodrigues said mandatory roadside screenings, which are in place in parts of Europe and Australia, should be introduced in Canada.

“In those countries, it’s proven to deter impaired driving causing death by 15-20%,” said Rodrigues.

“Right now, police officers can’t do roadside screenings without seeing signs of impairment. That’s not always the case, especially with long-term alcoholics.”

In Germany, if drivers are caught driving at 0.11%, their licence is taken away for at least six months, usually a year. For 0.16% or higher, the driver will have their license taken away for a year, and in order to get it back, have to pass a successful Medical Psychological Assessment (MPU).

The Assessment involves drivers having to prove they have been sober for at least a year with test administrators measuring liver function levels and conducting random urine screenings. In some cases, special courses are also required.

“It’s their laws, it’s their social acceptability, it’s their education, it’s putting programs in place to give drivers other options to get home,” said Rodrigues, who lost her four-month-old son in an impaired driving collision on Thanksgiving 2008.

“The driver in our case, that hit us, she was going maybe five minutes to her desired location. Five minutes. And she thought it was acceptable, and in the process my son died, and we have to live with that.”

In statistics released Thursday by the OPP, as of October 4th, impaired driving has been blamed as a factor in 29 road deaths on OPP-patrolled roads so far in 2015.

Speed and distracted driving were factors in 48 deaths each, while improper seatbelt use was a factor in 45 deaths.

Source: AM 980


Last updated on: 2015-10-28 | Link to this post