It’s the news that police hate to give: more people are dying on the province’s roads. In this case, the province is Manitoba which in 2016 managed to break its previous record of 111 road fatalities in a year, set in 2011.
Moreover, the RCMP announced that many of those road fatalities were caused by – what else – alcohol.
What’s going on?
It’s always hard to assess the cause of a spike in numbers. There is some variation from year to year. But if the number of alcohol-related road fatalities is not going down consistently, we need to look at the province’s laws and see if there are any changes that can possibly turn things around.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada made some recommendations for Manitoba in its 2015 Provincial Impaired Driving Report.
According to MADD Canada, Manitoba could bring down its number of alcohol-related road fatalities if it instituted:
- A minimum 3-day administrative licence suspension (ALS) for a first DUI
- Mandatory vehicle impoundment for a first ALS
- An Ignition interlock program which would be required for relicensing after a DUI. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.
RCMP is doing its best to catch impaired drivers. But it’s also important to keep impaired drivers from reoffending, and that’s where better laws come in. Perhaps 2017 is the year to address changes that will save the lives of Manitobans on the roads.