British Columbia impaired driving laws might seem strict to some people. The province has Immediate Roadside Prohibitions (IRP) for anyone stopped with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over .05, you can have your vehicle towed away if you’ve been drinking and driving, you’ll have to install an ignition interlock if you’ve convicted. But for anyone who has lived through a drunk driving crash, the laws aren’t nearly stiff enough, because people just keep on drinking and driving.
In order to be proactive and do their part to stop drinking and driving, the community of Nelson, British Columbia has taken steps at the community level. They’ve put up four road signs at local intersections telling people to call 911 if they spot a drunk driver.
The community of Nelson has taken these steps because of an impaired driving crash that almost ended the lives of Pat Henman and her daughter Maia Vezina. The driver, Shara Bakos, crashed head on into Henman in 2013. Both Henman and her daughter suffered critical injuries in the crash, and Bakos was sentenced to 2-½ years in prison. She’s recently been paroled after serving 1-½ years.
Road signs, along with public service announcements, campaigns launched by law enforcement and British Columbia impaired driving laws, all work together to encourage people to stop impaired driving and report drunk drivers. The only problem is getting people to actually pick up the phone and dial 911 when they suspect someone of doing so.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), people may second-guess whether or not that person is really drunk. Or, they may be reluctant to contact 911 because it doesn’t feel like a real emergency.
But think of it this way: the odds of the person you suspect of drunk driving crashing into someone within minute of you spotting the car is incredibly high, and if they crash into someone, an innocent person could die because that person made the choice to drink and drive.
Thanks to communities like Nelson, it’s easy to see that British Colombians are doing their part to let you know that, no matter where you live, if you spot a drunk driver pick up the phone and call 911. You could end up saving a life.