Impaired driving destroys lives and devastates families in a split second. One moment, a young man is on his way to pick up his girlfriend to take in a movie. The next moment, his life has been cut tragically short by a suspected impaired driver.

That is what happened to 22-year-old Brett Yasinsky in 2010. His family was left wondering why and how such a thing could happen.

"It's still unbelievable to us," said Brett's uncle, Wayne Bodnarchuk. "Brett was just going out to see a movie, and then he was gone forever. He is missed every single day by his family and by his friends."

In Brett's memory, and to help prevent other families from having to endure the loss of a loved one, members of Brett's family have joined MADD Canada's Winnipeg Chapter. Together with other community volunteers in Winnipeg and around the country, they are doing what they can to raise awareness about impaired driving, promote best practices in impaired driving laws and to support other victims of this violent crime.

"These tragedies just can't continue to happen," said Wayne. "We need to do everything we can - through laws and enforcement, through sentencing, through education and awareness - to make people realize that impaired driving is a deadly choice."

With that message in hand, Wayne will join a small group of MADD Canada representatives from around the country in Ottawa this Thursday. During National Victims of Crime Awareness Week, they will meet with select Members of Parliament to share their perspectives and to talk about what is needed to reduce the tragic impact of impaired driving in Canada.

MADD Canada representatives hope to speak with MPs about a 2009 report released by the Federal Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights called "Ending Alcohol-Impaired Driving: A Common Approach". The report contained a number of recommendations to reduce impaired driving in Canada, including: tougher sanctions for repeat impaired drivers, tougher sanctions for those with BACs in excess of .16% BAC, and random roadside breath testing.

MADD Canada and its representatives are hoping that the visit will lead to renewed interest in the Committee's report and action on its recommendations, with the end goal being a reduction in impaired driving rates in Canada.

The report was accepted by the government in principle, with Federal Justice Minister and Attorney General Rob Nicholson noting that the report "will greatly assist the Government in its ongoing efforts to make the impaired driving provisions of the Criminal Code more effective and to contribute to reducing the carnage on our roads caused by alcohol-impaired drivers."

Despite the acceptance of the report in principle, and the undisputed need for more to be done to stop impaired driving, there has been no move on the part of government to implement any of the recommendations in the report.

In the year that report was released, 1,074 people were killed in impaired driving crashes and 63,338 were injured. With those numbers as a basis, MADD Canada estimates more than 4,100 people have been killed and more than 240,000 injured in impairment-related crashes since the report was released and April of 2013.

MADD Canada's analysis of random breath testing, based on the experiences with that measure in other countries, indicates that random breath testing would prevent more than 200 impairment-related crash deaths and more than 14,000 impairment-related crash injuries each year.

"We are not saying that new measures will prevent all impaired driving crashes, but they will prevent some of those deaths and injuries," said MADD Canada National President Denise Dubyk. "There is more we can be doing to stop the carnage and loss caused by impaired driving. Random breath testing and the other recommendations in the report will have a significant impact on the reduction of impaired driving in Canada. We need to move forward on this."

Source: Digital Journal


Last updated on: 2013-04-24 | Link to this post