Some drivers present a risk to the public. Every once in a while a motorist comes along who is more than just a risk. An Ontario prosecutor recently encountered just such a driver, a man who could be described as a ticking time bomb – a certain danger to others on the road.
With a total of six drinking and driving convictions, Roger Arsenault admits that he is, in the judge’s words, a “menace to the community.” His most recent arrest, on Christmas Eve, was for drunk driving and driving while disqualified.
Arsenault’s vehicle ran into a ditch. Police saw that he was unsteady and his speech was slurred. He gave a false name to the police. When they checked his true ID, they found he was on bail for a drunk driving charge. As it turned out, his BAC (blood alcohol concentration) was .240, three times the legal limit in the province.
Arsenault might lose the $30,000 bail that was put up for his last charge, and he will serve prison time. But even that is not enough to satisfy the Ontario court justice who, stating that his task was to protect the public, issued a lifetime driving ban.
Four-time offenders against the Criminal Code can be suspended from driving for life with no possibility of reinstatement.
In Canada, earning a driver’s licence is a privilege, not a right. Therefore, provinces set standards by which drivers must abide to earn and keep that privilege. All of the provinces, including Ontario, have prohibitions against drunk driving.
Measures like fines and imprisonment are effective for some drunk drivers, who get the message and don’t reoffend. Ignition interlocks, which prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking, are a more secure way to ensure that offenders don’t drink and drive. A lifetime ban is an extreme response to an extreme case.
If the man in question continues to own a vehicle, a mandated ignition interlock would be a good idea, as he had already been driving under suspension. A lifetime interlock and a lifetime ban might be the best course of action for this persistent offender.