Kenneth Obey has been charged with impaired driving 19 times, and although he’s currently serving 3 ½ years in prison and is banned from driving for 15 years, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) sees him as an example of how the system is failing with repeat offenders. It’s also a great example of why ignition interlock devices may work where all other penalties fail.
Upon hearing of the latest conviction, Chief executive of MADD Canada Andrew Murie stated, ‘It’s disgusting the system handles people like him in this fashion. It’s by luck he hasn’t killed somebody.’ Murie is asking for multiple offenders like Obey to be designated as dangerous offenders to warn the public of his potential to re-offend, and MADD continues with their push for ignition interlocks across Canada to stop repeat offenders.
Between the years of 1981 and 2005, Obey received 18 impaired driving convictions. His latest conviction came in August of 2012 when he decided to get behind the wheel drunk after believing his companion was more intoxicated then he was. When stopped, his blood alcohol content (BAC) was 2 ½ times the legal limit of .08.
To combat the growing problem of drinking drivers like Obey, Saskatchewan ignition interlock and DUI laws became harsher as of June 2014. With new ignition interlock requirements for all offenders and immediate driver’s license suspensions, the province is hoping to turn around their poor impaired driving record.
It’s not known if Kenneth Obey had an ignition interlock in his vehicle or if, under the previous laws, he wasn’t required to have one at all. What we do know is that suspending repeat offender’s licenses as a measure to stop them from drinking and driving doesn’t always work, because a large majority of drinking drivers will drive with or without a valid license.
Ignition interlocks have been proven to reduce the likelihood that offenders will drink and drive again by up to 67%. With Saskatchewan’s new ignition interlock and DUI laws, we may see a dramatic decrease in multiple offenders like Kenneth Obey.