Most impaired driving education centres around the decision a driver makes. We’re all given some good advice: plan ahead, organize a designated driver, know your limit, and keep your friends from driving drunk.
The Saskatechewan RMCP are taking a different tack this month: they’re going for the source of the alcohol, in the persons of the proprietors and servers at bars and other licensed establishments where people come to drink. The idea is to ensure that those establishments know and abide by the law, and are doing their part to keep impaired drivers off the road.
The initiative combines the efforts of the RCMP “F” Division, Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority, and officials from the local Fire Department.
Liquor and the Law in Canada
The responsibility of an alcohol-serving establishment to the safety of patrons is not a platitude: it’s an obligation upheld by law. The Supreme Court has held that a licensed establishment owes a duty to protect intoxicated persons from injuries they may suffer after leaving the premises. This includes injuries on the road due to impaired driving.
Licensees must monitor patrons’ consumption of alcohol and know when to cut them off. They must help get an at-risk customer home safely, and also make sure they are protected from any dangers on the premises (such as stairways). Claiming that “the customer was drunk” doesn’t cut it.
Saskatchewan has recently strengthened its DUI laws, including a bolstered ignition interlock law and vehicle seizures. It’s all part of an effort to transform one of the shadiest impaired driving records among the provinces, and it’s set to work.
Adding an extra measure of protection by reminding pubs and restaurants of their responsibility to reduce impaired driving can only help. Great going RCMP Saskatchewan, SLGA, and the other officials involved.