After British Columbia and Saskatchewan put strict impaired driving laws into place, they’ve seen a drop in impaired driving rates. The East Coast provinces haven’t fared as well, and the spotlight is shining on Nova Scotia impaired driving rates after a recent CBC article detailed how they have remained steady since 2005.
With 1,048 impaired drivers arrested in 2015, the province has remained well above the national average for drunk drivers. Take these numbers into consideration: the national average for impaired driving charges in 2014 was 167 people arrested per 100,000 population. In Nova Scotia, that number was 217 per 100,000 people.
A recent report out of Halifax revealed that Nova Scotia RCMP charged 31 people for impaired driving in February alone, and that was just in that one city. 9 of the drivers were charged after a crash, 26 were arrested during routine traffic stops, and 4 were caught during RCMP check points.
What’s going on in Nova Scotia? No one can say for sure, but the RCMP are definitely doing their share to stop Nova Scotia impaired driving. They’ve had 3,099 check points set up since April 2014, and police have said they’re receiving more phone tips than ever about suspected drunk drivers.
If Nova Scotia took other provinces as examples, they might see that the problem is due to the lack of ignition interlocks. Unlike British Columbia or Ontario, Nova Scotia doesn’t have a mandatory ignition interlock law. A first offender may voluntarily install an ignition interlock if they’d like to drive during their suspension of one year. A second time offender may be required by the judge to install the device as part of his or her penalties, but it’s not mandatory.
It’s time to toughen up and require ignition interlocks for all offenders in Nova Scotia. They’re the only proven way to stop drunk drivers, and if the province wants to see a real decrease in impaired driving, ignition interlocks are the only choice.