Queen Victoria was not lacking in self-esteem. She’s known for saying, “The important thing is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.”
What, then, would she think of the 160 Ontarians who were arrested for impaired driving over Victoria Day weekend?
She would not be amused.
And Her Majesty would be right. Especially since some of those arrests involved collisions and deaths. Impaired driving remains a deadly crime, and one that Ontario can’t seem to shake despite valiant efforts by police, legislators, MTO, Transport Canada, and road safety organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada. The police are aware of this, and are always out in force on long weekends such as the Victoria Day weekend.
Without belaboring the obvious (for which Queen Victoria would have no patience) it’s worth stating why long weekends are so deadly on Canada’s roads:
- Drinking. It’s an extra day off, after all – no need to get up on Monday morning, so no reason not to crack another beer. There is a reason not to drive, but not all Ontarians are aware of it – at least, not after that extra beer. Drinking diminishes judgment, which makes bad decisions more likely.
- More drivers. Lots of extra people are on the roads, which means driving is that much dicier, and stopping distances that much shorter.
- Drivers on unfamiliar roads. Many people head into new territory on a long weekend, which means sudden turns and generally weird driving behaviour that can cause confusion for motorists around them.
- Distraction. Crowded cars, smartphones, disagreements over where to stop for food, as well as that first goal at the IIHF World Championship against Finland can all throw a driver off his or her game.
- Less use of seat belts. That’s right. For some reason, you see more injuries due to lack of seat belts on holidays. Go figure.
Of these, drinking and seat belt injuries are 100 percent avoidable, which means that those 160 drivers had no excuse for their impaired driving.
It’s too late to do anything about Victoria Day impaired driving, at least for 2016, but on the next holiday, buckle up and be extra careful on the road. And of course, drive sober in order to avoid that royal screwup known as a DUI.