When you read about impaired driving crashes or see them on the news, it’s all too easy to glance over them before you go about your day. Until someone you know dies due to a decision made by an impaired driver, you’ll never know the loss and grief a family will feel when they lose their loved one so senselessly.
Two crashes are the reason a push has begun for harsher Alberta impaired driving laws. The two mothers who are trying to force change want drunk drivers to be held accountable for their actions, and they want the death of their children to matter in the eyes of lawmakers.
Grace Pesa and Sheri Arsenault have a petition with 500 signatures they will be presenting to Parliament, and with the petition they are asking for mandatory minimum sentences for all convictions of impaired driving causing death.
Grace Pesa lost her son Francis Pesa when he was killed by an impaired driver in Calgary on January 1st, 2014. The driver of the Dodge Ram that hit Pesa and his girlfriend pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death and was given a 3-year jail sentence and a 5 year driver’s license suspension.
Sheri Arsenault’s son Bradley Arsenault was killed along with 2 friends after an impaired driving crash in November of 2011. They were traveling down the highway when a Dodge Ram truck traveling just under 200 km/hr struck them from behind. The driver of that truck was found guilty of manslaughter and impaired driving causing death, and he’s currently serving 8 years in prison with an appeal pending.
Bonded together by tragic circumstances these mothers also stand behind Bill C-652, otherwise known as Kassandra’s law. If passed that bill would amend the Canadian Criminal Code to change the charge of impaired driving causing death to vehicular homicide.
If there is a mandatory sentence for impaired driving, offenders will not have the option to bargain their way down to a lower sentence, and that’s something that can ease the minds of people who have lost a loved one to a impaired driving crash. Keep watching LifeSafer Canada for updates on Bill C-652 and potential changes to Alberta’s impaired driving laws.