Anyone who has ever received an “F” on his or her report card will tell you that it stings, so you can imagine how lawmakers and law enforcement in Montreal felt when they discovered that Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) gave them a failing grade for on their annual impaired driving review back in 2015.
Along with New Brunswick, Montreal received the lowest score out of the entire country. Although Quebec has an ignition interlock law in place, this grade was handed out for two reasons. One, Quebec doesn’t have a warn range violation penalty for anyone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between .05 and .08. Other provinces have warn range violations and the penalties include short term roadside suspensions and vehicle impoundment. Quebec impaired driving law does state that police have the power to charge you even if you’re below .08.
Two, Quebec doesn’t have mandatory alcohol screening. That means police don’t have to see obvious signs that you’re drunk before they ask you to submit to a breathalyzer. When you’re pulled over, you have to submit.
There’s one main reason why MADD wants Quebec to change their impaired driving laws to include these provisions: drunk driving crashes. The province has more than their fair share of crashes, and they’re claiming lives at a frequency that’s hard to believe.
Take one crash that happened at the beginning of November. A man was driving on the wrong side of a highway when he struck another vehicle. Inside that vehicle was a thirteen year old girl and her parents. Although she lived, her parents died as a result of their injuries. The driver of the other vehicle was seriously injured as well, and police are waiting on charges.
Not even a week later a young man was hit by an impaired driver when hew as crossing the street in the early morning. He’s currently in critical condition and the driver was arrested for impaired driving.
Stopping theses crashes and putting an end to death and injury because of impaired driving is at the top of MADD’s to-do list, and these changes could help Quebec crack down on their drunk drivers. Even one more death is one too many, so let’s hope Quebec lawmakers make these changes a top priority.