It’s a question that can drive police and anti-drunk driving groups crazy: how far do you have to go to stop Canadian drunk drivers? You can slap them with high fines and fees, you can require them to only drive with an ignition interlock and take away their driver’s license if they don’t, and you can even throw them in jail. Sometimes one of these penalties will work, while other offenders will continue to drink and drive despite everything stacked against them.
It’s not just Canadian drunk drivers; it’s a global drunk driving problem, and that’s why some places are taking an extra step. It’s a pretty shocking step that Canadian repeat drunk drivers could end up taking someday too. A few countries around the world and select communities in the United States are requiring their repeat drunk drivers to go on a trip to the morgue.
It’s shock treatment, plain and simple, and countries like Thailand are doing so because they have an out-of-control drunk driving problem and can’t think of another way to get through to repeat offenders.
Within the Thailand program, convicted drunk drivers are put on probation and they are required to complete up to 48 hours of community service. That service includes actually working in the hospital morgue or emergency room in lieu of jail time.
While there are no plans to implement morgue visits in Canada right now, it seems to be working in Southern California. Offenders will either take a short tour of the morgue with the Coroner, or they’ll spend several days in a workshop based around the morgue.
According to the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner, the program is working. He’s said they have yet to see anyone who’s gone through the visit or workshop on the table for an autopsy, so they feel it’s a success. But there are opponents of the program too, and they don’t think that terrifying drivers by a visit to the morgue will stop them from drunk driving again.
Maybe it’s that feeling of invincibility alcohol can give you or the ‘it won’t happen to me’ thought pattern, but some drunk drivers will just keep on driving despite a scary afternoon spent with innocent victims. It’s frustrating, but thankfully the people fighting back against Canadian drunk drivers aren’t going to stop until they figure out how to put an end to it.