Susana Dumitru, 29, was killed in a drunk driving crash on Highway 7/8 west of Kitchener in 2016


Ahmed Darwish was sentenced to 7 1/2 years on Monday

Convicted drunk-driving killer Ahmed Darwish is irrefutable proof of why Canada needs tough new laws to protect lives and make our roads safe.

Nothing else has worked.

Decades of stricter rules, more punitive sentences, endless publicity campaigns and relentless social condemnation all failed to deter the Kitchener man from addling his brain with booze, climbing behind the wheel of his Mercedes and tearing down Highway 7/8 at a speed of 214 km/h last Nov. 27.

Stinking of alcohol and with bloodshot eyes, Darwish slammed into another car just west of Kitchener, killing Susana Dumitru, leaving her two-month-old son George with catastrophic brain injuries and condemning husband-father Razvan Dumitru to a lifetime of grief.

For his despicable crimes, Darwish was sentenced to a significant prison term on Monday — 7 ½ years.

Yet we despair that without the sweeping legislative changes proposed by the federal government in mid-April, Canada's roads will never be cleared of the likes of him.

Last December, 57-year-old Hugh Brake of Kitchener was sent to prison for eight years for driving drunk, smashing into a stopped car and killing an infant on the same stretch of Highway 7/8 in March 2013.

Before that, Marco Muzzo was sentenced to 10 years in prison in March 2016 for driving drunk and killing three children and their grandfather in a horrific crash north of Toronto.

How could one or both of these tragedies have escaped Darwish's notice?

If he was aware, the stiff prison sentences handed out in these cases did nothing to deter his recklessness.

Nor did his own, previous conviction in 2009 for driving with more than the legal amount of alcohol in his blood persuade him to stay sober on the road.

It's time to say enough.

The bloodshed on our roads must be staunched. No more families should be torn apart this way.

It's true that the rate of impaired driving in Canada has declined in the past 30 years.

Even so, Health Canada reports impaired driving remains the biggest cause of criminal death and injury in this country.

Our laws, police and courts must become more aggressive in ending drunk driving. This change is particularly needed given that Canada will legalize the recreational use of marijuana in 2018, which could result in more impaired drivers.

Last month the federal Liberals announced new legislation to combat drugged driving, but also to toughen the laws for alcohol-impaired driving.

The legislation would give police new authority to fight drunk driving by demanding a breath sample from any driver at the roadside. Gone would be the requirement that police need reasonable suspicion a driver has been drinking before demanding a breath sample.

The proposed mandatory screening is already in place in 121 countries and they have achieved a sharp and sustained reduction in crashes.

The new legislation would also increase minimum fines as well as maximum sentences for drunk driving charges.

Bring on these changes, we say.

And if they're not enough, perhaps we will need to extend zero tolerance from young drivers to all drivers — if you drink you don't drive. Period.

Source: The Spec


Last updated on: 2017-06-08 | Link to this post