It’s a fact: drunk drivers crash vehicles, and when they do it often happens that an innocent person somewhere, someone who woke up that morning with no intention of ever getting behind the wheel of a car drunk, will become a victim of drunk driving. Those victims will either go on to live with severe, life-changing injuries, or they will die, and the families they left behind will become victims of drunk driving too.
Once they’ve moved past the shock of injury or loss, many victims of drunk driving want to see the person responsible pay the price for making the decision to drink and drive, and all too often the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.
Take a Calgary sentencing that happened recently. In 2013 a drunk driver drove through a red light and crashed into the minivan of a family with an eleven year old girl in the back seat. Both parents were injured, and their daughter was thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene.
The driver, a thirty two year old father of three, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison as well as other penalties upon his release. The family who lost their daughter has gone on record to say that it’s not a stiff enough sentence.
There’s no way to know why a judge will hand down one type of sentence to a drunk driver while giving another a longer prison sentence, but they do take into consideration the drunk driver’s remorse and life situation. This drunk driver, a father himself, has to live with the fact that he took the life of another child, and that may have factored into duration of jail time the judge handed down.
Even if this offender would have received ten years in prison the way Marco Muzzo did in Ontario for his impaired driving crash that killed three children and their grandfather, it wouldn’t be enough to bring back this little girl.
That’s why people involved in or lost a loved one due to a drunk driving crash will always be victims of drunk driving: the punishment doesn’t change the crime, and a crash like this one becomes a life sentence for everyone involved.