It’s a staggering statistic, one members of this country’s largest anti-impaired driving group say is entirely avoidable.

Each year in Canada impaired driving claims between 1,250 and 1,500 lives and injures close to 64,000.

One only has to read the local newspaper or watch the news to hear of another case of impaired driving on the Island. And, unfortunately, as of late, there seems to be a number of serious accidents involving alcohol where someone was either critically injured or killed as a result of someone getting behind the wheel drunk.

Curbing and, if at all possible, eliminating impaired driving is something MADD has tirelessly worked for over the years.

Its members, most often themselves victims of impaired driving related tragedies, recently spent time in Ottawa visiting this country’s legislators in the hope that stricter sanctions would be put in place to end the carnage on our roads.

Random breath testing is at the top of MADD’s wish list.

This would allow police to randomly administer breath tests to drivers during routine roadside checks. As it stands now, police must suspect alcohol consumption — slurred speech or the smell of alcohol — to make a breath demand.

Some may argue that passing a law allowing random breath testing would infringe upon Canadians’ rights under the constitution. But, according to a survey conducted by MADD, 77 per cent of those asked agree with random breath testing.

Random breath testing, says MADD, would save $4.3 billion in social costs in its first year, save the lives of 200 Canadians and prevent 14,000 injuries.

These numbers, alone, should be enough to prompt legislators to seriously consider the benefits of random breath testing.

The second item on MADD’s wish list is stiffer sentences for repeat offenders and those caught with more than double the legal alcohol limit in their blood.

Often we read of an impaired driver caught for the third, fourth and, in one recent drunk driving causing death case, the fifth time.

When it comes down to it, impaired driving is a choice, something not done by accident and something entirely preventable.

Each time someone gets behind the wheel drunk it is a choice, one that should have serious consequences for the driver.

Consequences are often dire for its victims. Impaired driving maims. It kills.

Making it easier for the right choice to be made, whether it is tougher sentences or random blood testing, is something to be applauded and, hopefully, passed as law.

Source: The Journal Pioneer


Last updated on: 2013-05-27 | Link to this post