A brother, an aunt, a grandparent, a cousin, a wife, a mother, a best friend, a co-worker.

Each of the 1,074 pairs of shoes placed on the steps outside B.C. Provincial Court in Surrey on Saturday will represent a Canadian who lost their life to an impaired driver in 2011.



“Every one of these shoes represents someone who had the right to their life and should be alive today, because every one of these deaths is preventable,” said Markita Kaulius, whose 22-year-old daughter Kassandra was killed last year by an alleged drunk driver in Surrey.

Families for Justice, a group of people who have lost loved ones to impaired or aggressive drivers, has organized Saturday’s event to remember those who have died and also the 63,000 people who were injured last year by impaired drivers. Families will stand among the shoes holding pictures of their loved ones who have died.

They hope it will send a strong message to lawmakers, who the group is encouraging to bring in mandatory minimum sentences for impaired driving causing death, and eventually change the Criminal Code to include vehicular manslaughter as an offence.

“It’s holding people accountable for their actions,” Kaulius said.

Kaulius said the group, of which she is a member with her husband, Victor, also wants to remind the public to plan ahead for a safe ride home when they go out to celebrate this holiday season.

“Our biggest wish is we don’t want another family to have to go through what we’ve gone through,” Kaulius said.

“Most people will have no idea what it’s like to lose your child. I have a bedroom down the hall that’s still there waiting for her [Kassandra] to come home. She can’t come home.”

Every year, according to the Insurance Corp. of B.C., more than 400 people die and nearly 30,000 are injured in motor vehicle crashes in B.C. alone. In an average year 124 people die in crashes involving impaired driving in B.C.

Two years after the province introduced tougher impaired-driving laws, the government estimates that 104 lives have been saved and instances of impaired driving have dropped. However, according to the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, in the last two years police have given out 38,413 immediate roadside prohibitions in B.C.

“That tells me people still don’t get it,” Kaulius said. “They made the choice that they didn’t care, they’ll take that chance.”

Kaulius urged people to report anyone they think may be driving while impaired: “You may be saving their life or someone else’s loved one down the road.”

For video, click here

To learn more about Families for Justice or sign their petition, click here

Previous story, click here


Source: The Province


Last updated on: 2012-11-25 | Link to this post