Making the choice to drink and drive, even if it’s a short distance or you really don’t think you’re drunk at all, can have tragic and long term consequences. Those long term consequences don’t just apply to the victims of the drunk driver, but the drunk driver themselves.
Because she made the decision to drink and drive, one Newfoundland woman in her early twenties isn’t doing what other twenty year old people do and attending University or getting a job. She’s moving onto a forty two month jail sentence because she killed someone and injured several others.
Whitney St.Pierre was driving a vehicle with six people in it back in July of 2015. She was speeding and driving with open alcohol in the car when it left the road and crashed. One young girl died and the other five in the vehicle were injured. At the time of the crash the driver felt she wasn’t drunk, but her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was .153 to .183.
Forty two months in jail works out to three and a half years, and although that’s not the longest drunk driving sentence handed down for a crash that’s killed someone, it is a long time for a young woman to think about why she made the choice to drink and drive. The odds are strong she’ll never do it again, but is her punishment reason enough for others not to make the same choice she did?
According to a judge in Ontario, harsh punishments like that just handed down to St.Pierre might not be working to deter drunk drivers. He cited the Marco Muzzo case as an example of a driver given ten years for killing three children and their grandfather, but after the sentence was handed down Ontario drunk driving rates continued to spike.
The only thing that will actually deter drunk drivers are ignition interlocks, and Newfoundland only has a voluntary program for interlocks right now. Maybe this will be the year they finally change that law, and the possibility of having to install one may make others in the province think twice before they put the keys in the ignition.