Today, Mark Warawa, Langley—Aldergrove Member of Parliament and Official Opposition Critic for Seniors, joined the Hon. Steven Blaney to announce the introduction of Bill C-226: Impaired Driving Act.

The bill is a comprehensive piece of legislation that would reform transportation-related offences in the Criminal Code, including those that relate to impaired driving and mandatory screening. Specifically, the bill offers the courts greater discretion to hand down harsher sentences, including tougher sentences for impaired driving causing death and for repeat drunk drivers.

MP Warawa applauded the new legislation, which complements MP Warawa’s efforts in the last Parliament to call for stiffer penalties for dangerous and impaired driving.

“This legislation stands as a way forward to keep our roads safe,” said the Langley—Aldergrove MP. “Canadians should be safe from drunk drivers. This Parliament has an opportunity to ensure that the criminal code keeps Canadians safe.”

“The leading cause of criminal death in Canada is impaired driving,” continued Warawa. “Well over twelve hundred Canadians are killed every year because someone irresponsibly chose to drive while impaired instead of finding a safe way home.”

This legislation is in line with the Private Members Bill that MP Warawa introduced in the last Parliament, called Bill C-652: Kassandra’s Law. “In 2011, 22-year-old Kassandra Kaulius was tragically killed by a drunk driver. Following Kassandra’s death, her family joined other victims’ families with the resolve to ensure that what happened to Kassandra would never happen to another son or daughter. They created an organization called Families for Justice.” To date, over 100,000 Canadians have signed their petition, which calls for changes to the Criminal Code.

Since 2012, MP Warawa has worked with Markita Kaulius and Families for Justice and other Members of Parliament on both sides of the House of Commons in order to present petitions asking that: (1) the offence of impaired driving causing death to be called Vehicular Homicide; and (2) that the Criminal Code be changed to require mandatory sentencing for impaired driving causing death. While Kassandra’s Law would meet the first request, the Impaired Driving Act would fulfill the second request.

Kassandra’s Law was introduced in the House of Commons by MP Warawa on February 2, 2015.

Backgrounder: Bill Summary

Tougher sentences for repeat drunk drivers offering courts greater discretion to hand down harsher sentences

The maximum sentence for driving causing bodily harm will increase from 10 to 14 years, offering Justices greater discretion, while repeat offenders, will face a one-year prison sentence for a second offence, and a two-year sentence for a third offence.

For impaired driving causing death, sentences will vary from 5 to 25 years depending on severity and aggravating factors.

When more than one life is lost, Justices will be able to apply consecutive sentences.

Relieving pressure on the courts by eliminating legal delays and loopholes

This legislation would eliminate the bolus drinking defence used when the accused claims that their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) was over 80 mg/dl at the time of the test because they quickly consumed several drinks just before driving.

The bill would strictly limit the intervening drink defence, where an accused claims to have consumed alcohol after being stopped by the police and therefore their BAC would not have been over 80 while driving.

Favour guilty pleas by giving lighter sentences to those who acknowledge their offence in good faith.

Mandatory Screening

 The bill would permit mandatory screening, which would allow police to ask any driver at any time to provide a breath sample in order to determine its alcohol content. This was recommended by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

Mandatory screening will increase the perceived probability of arrest for drunk driving for hardened repeat offenders.

Researchers established that police identified no more than 50% of drivers whose blood alcohol content was over 80mg/dl.

In a survey sponsored by Transport Canada and MADD Canada, 66% of Canadians felt that police should be allowed to randomly test a driver’s breath.

Countries that implemented mandatory screening witnessed a significant decrease of the number of recorded road deaths.

Source: Markwarawa.com

Last updated on: 2016-03-11 | Link to this post