Victoria Day is behind us and with it another litany of grieving families. Why? Impaired driving. For me it beggars belief that so many of us pay lip service to impaired driving and yet it and the carnage and destroyed lives goes on and on.

When I was a young man drinking and driving was commonplace I am ashamed to say that I did drive for a while too with a couple or three beers under my belt, although I was never what one would call wasted. At that time in the UK there was always a chance that you could get stopped by the police but never the expectation that you would.

One night, although I was never intending to drive, I ended up giving a friend, who was well the worse for drink, a lift home for his own safety. I ran into a check stop and the policeman asked if I had been drinking. I said yes but I was giving my friend a lift home. There were two things that stopped me being prosecuted. The first was that I was telling the truth and the second was that I had fishing rod carriers on my car; the policeman was a fellow angler. He let me off and waved through on the way back on the condition that I promised that I would never drink and drive again. I didn’t and haven’t since in the last 30 odd years.

In the UK and many parts of Europe things have changed. If one drives impaired one can expect to be stopped and lose one’s licence, one’s vehicle and even one’s liberty. I believe we need a huge shift in attitude to impaired driving starting with the Federal and Provincial governments. They have to have the courage to establishing a zero tolerance regime to impaired driving. If someone drives impaired in Canada one should expect to have the full force of the law imposed, fines, loss of licence for a period of years, loss of licence forever and significant jail time for repeat offenders, irrespective of damage or harm caused.

This means that the RCMP and police forces have to have the tools and to be able and willing to crack down hard. This may mean staking out bar car parks and the roads around, public events and random check stops, much more than they do already. The impaired driver has to know that they will get stopped rather than they might. Bars, clubs and event organizers are likely going to suffer a loss of business unless they can work out of the box with patrons or adapt their business. Until drivers are afraid, really afraid of the consequences of driving impaired this slaughter will go on. Politicians of every party it is your challenge to make this happen. It’s time to take a stand.



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