SGI is known for looking for unique ways to stop Saskatchewan drunk driving. The agency releases drunk driving public service announcements on a regular basis, and over the summer of 2017 they released a video called “Shattered Lives” and a new media campaign called “Be a good wingman.” Both have received a lot of attention.
But while the Saskatchewan chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) likes the message SGI is sending out, they’d much rather people in the province put their effort in to stopping Saskatchewan drunk driving by seeking stronger impaired driving laws.
The bottom line for MADD is that they feel as though people ignore the messages SGI is putting out. The community leader of MADD Regina, Wendell Waldron, stated that many of the people who were convicted of drunk driving in several well-known cases had friends who watched them drive away. He believes that given the opportunity, some people won’t do the right thing and wouldn’t consider being a good wingman in the way that SGI would want them to.
Case in point? Saskatchewan MLA Don McMorris drove drunk, pleaded guilty, and was back on the job representing the public seven months later. For MADD, that sends the message that it’s fine to drink and drive as long as you don’t kill someone, and that’s not a message they want people to share.
Waldron believes that there are two good examples in Canada that Saskatchewan should follow: British Columbia and Ontario. In British Columbia the Immediate Roadside Suspension program means you can have your vehicle taken away from you for 30 days, while impounding is only an option for three days in Saskatchewan. Waldron also favours the last drink program in Ontario, where the restaurant or bar where the person was drinking before arrest can be held accountable for serving.
Legislators have been fighting back against Saskatchewan drunk driving over the past year by beefing up their ignition interlock program and charging drivers with a .04 blood alcohol concentration (BAC), but there is always more that can be done. It just remains to be seen whether or not SGI campaigns or new legislation is the more effective in stopping these drivers.