Many things in Saskatchewan are going well, but one thing is not: the province still leads Canada in drunk driving. The government is committed to fixing that situation, however, and is planning to introduce new measures in the fall session. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada has contributed some ideas, among them a proposal to discipline elected officials who drink and drive.
Members of MADD Canada, including CEO Andrew Murie, recently outlined some measures for the government to consider.
Public Officials: Drive Sober or Term is Over
It’s no secret that politicians get caught drinking and driving on occasion. Because of their status as public figures, MADD believes that a code of ethics should apply: if they are convicted on DUI charges, they should step down. Allowing them to keep their jobs is tantamount to condoning drunk driving, and as elected officials they should be held to a high standard.
Arrested for DUI? Your Vehicle is Out of Here
One reasons British Columbia has reduced its drunk driving death toll is its roadside prohibition. Anyone arrested for DUI has his or her vehicle seized for 30 days. When it is returned it has an ignition interlock device installed. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.
According to MADD Canada Saskatchewan would benefit from an ignition interlock program like the one in B.C., in which the device is not removed until failed tests stop. The idea is to separate driving from drinking.
21 Or Under? Just No Drinking
Among the measures proposed was a legal blood alcohol limit of zero for drivers 21 and under. Young people drink and drive – and die on the road – in greater numbers than any other group.
MADD put forth other proposals, such as expanding facilities for a phone-in line that allowed citizens to all in drunk drivers. In recent years the number of impaired drivers caught because of tips to the police have increased.
Saskatchewan’s legislative session begins tomorrow. Impaired driving is sure to be on the agenda, though it remains to be seen how many of MADD’s recommendations are taken up. The measures above are all ones that have proved effective in other provinces or countries. Saskatchewan would do well to adopt them if it wants to shed its unpleasant distinction as Canada’s drunk driving capital.