Jul 31 2005
New tools to take on issue



Earlier this year, Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada (MADD) issued their own progress report on all the provinces in Canada when it comes to legislative provisions designed to reduce impaired driving and better serve victims of drunk drivers.
The 2005 review looked at four specific areas including: licensing provisions, police enforcement powers, licence suspensions and vehicle sanctions and remedial programs.
In May, when the report was released, it listed B.C. as a needs improvement province, which followed on the heels of previous C+ and D+ rankings over previous years.
Now, the province has made some changes which should boost it out of the needs improvement category, especially in the area of rehabilitation and the implementation of an ignition interlock program.
The Responsible Driver Program will provide mandatory education, counselling and in-depth addiction treatment. Participants will be required to pay an $880 fee, and after consultation will be referred to anything from a one-day educational session to a community-based alcohol treatment program.
Ignition interlock is an in-car breath screening device which only allows the vehicle to be started after the driver has successfully blown under a pre-set blood alcohol limit.
Both additions will bring new teeth to battle the major factor in impaired driving collisions - the habitual offender.
A study by the Canada Safety Council showed that 86 per cent of all the impaired driving trips in Canada are taken by three per cent of the population.
We all have heard the story. A driver with three, four, five or more convictions who keeps choosing to get behind the wheel impaired and one day ends up maiming or killing someone.
We've had these people in our community. They go through our courthouse regularly. And they are like terrorists with a bomb strapped to their backs - except the bomb is their car and the light for the fuse is alcohol. It's frightening because you can never know who will be in the path of their vehicle when that bomb detonates.
And there are shrines along our own stretches of highway where the victims of these drivers are remembered.
The new laws won't eliminate the problem. But they will provide an additional way to protect the innocent from some driver's habit of making stupid choices.


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