Drinking and driving kills.

So why on earth are we not getting the message

Jordan Van De Vorst, 34, Chanda Van De Vorst, 33, Kamryn Van De Vorst, just 5, and Miguire Van De Vorst, only 2.

Gary Neville, 65, Daniel Neville-Lake, 9, Harrison Neville-Lake, 5, and Milly Neville-Lake, also just 2.

Just a glimpse of their photos gives you a hint of the unbearable heartbreak caused by their deaths.

Catherine McKay has been charged with impaired driving in the deaths of the Van de Vorst family, killed in a crash outside of Saskatoon last weekend. Marco Muzzo has been charged with impaired driving in the deaths of the Neville-Lake family, killed in Vaughn in September.

Theirs are no doubt the most horrific cases in recent memory of the devastation caused by allegedly impaired drivers. But they are by no stretch the only ones. The number of people killed by drunk drivers is in the thousands. MADD Canada estimates that there are as many as 1,500 impairment-related crash deaths in Canada each year. Driving while impaired is the biggest factor in serious collisions in Canada.

So why on earth are we not getting the message?

Disturbing recent RIDE statistics show that drivers are still continuing to drink and drive.

Between Nov. 23 and Jan. 2, the OPP charged 573 people with impaired driving-related offences on Ontario's highways. Some 350 drivers received a warning and had their licenses suspended. That number does not include Hamilton police charges on city streets. And these are only the drivers who were caught. The OPP's Kerry Schmidt said the number of charges was about the same as last year. In York region, charges were up 6 per cent in 2015. Across the country, there are dozens of recent headlines about impaired charges being laid, many as a result of life-threatening crashes.

The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse notes a number of possible initiatives to cope with our lack of progress in reducing impaired driving, such as random or mandatory breath testing, random drug testing and enhanced sanctions against impaired drivers.

The federal government has been looking into changes for years. The Harper government introduced a bill — now dead — that gave police the power to demand a breath test or a blood sample from someone involved in a crash that causes injury or death, and imposed a six-year mandatory minimum sentence for impaired driving causing death.

The government can, and should do everything in its power to deter impaired drivers and ensure they face strict possible consequences. But laws alone will not fix this problem. Ultimately, it falls to all of us to control our behaviour and get the message once and for all: Drinking and driving is irresponsible, criminal and deadly.

Source: The Hamilton Spectator


Last updated on: 2016-01-29 | Link to this post