Call to action: help bring random breath testing to Canada

A little over a year ago, my life and the lives of my family, were forever changed when my mother-in-law was killed by a drunk driver. The accident occurred on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, around 2:30 in the afternoon, on a straight stretch of perfectly clear highway. Not what you might picture when you think of impaired driving accidents. A drunk and stoned driver, behind the wheel of a 1-ton work truck slammed into her 2-door sunfire literally tearing off the side of the car and killing her instantly!

And if can happen to me – it can happen to YOU!

Impaired driving is 100% preventable! Not one more person, not one more loved one, not one more human being has to die or suffer injuries from impaired driving – yet it continues to happen.

According to MADD Canada, every year impaired driving claims more than 1,200 lives and causes some 73,000 injuries. Impairment-related crashes continue to be the leading criminal cause of death in Canada. Millions of Canadians continue to drink and drive.

In 2010, how is this possible?

The problem with the current law is that it is not an effective deterrent for impaired driving. The likelihood of an impaired driver ever being stopped, let alone convicted (see my previous post on conviction rates) is extremely low.

MADD Canada, using survey, criminal charge and criminal conviction data from 2006, was able to determine that a person would have to drive impaired, on average once a week, every week, for more than three years before being charged with an impaired driving offence, and for over six years before ever being convicted.

What???

Okay, so what can  I do about it? Lots!

Right now, MADD Canada is calling on the federal government to move forward with the introduction of random breath testing.

Random breath testing is one of the most effective ways to deter impaired driving, thus reducing deaths and injuries. It has been studied and recommended by the Federal Justice Committee, its benefits are proven, and a recent poll indicates most Canadians would support it as a measure to reduce impaired driving.

It has been adopted in New Zealand, Australia, and most of European countries. And according to MADD Canada, it is a safe prediction that random breath testing would likely lower the rate of crash fatalities in the first year alone by around 20%.

In year one, 248 PEOPLE would be saved and 14,624 injuries prevented.

WHAT are we waiting for?

As well, according to MADD Canada, police currently spend more than $82 million on impairment-related crashes and non-crash impaired driving charges. With a 20% reduction in crashes and charges, the annual savings in police resources would be more than $16 million.

MADD Canada needs YOUR help to make this happen.

We need every single Canadian out there to contact your Member of Parliament. Encourage him or her to raise the issue with colleagues in Parliament and to ask Justice Minister Rob Nicholson to introduce random breath testing legislation.

If you’re mailing your letter, you can use the Parliament address in the template letter. And remember, no postage is required when mailing an MP at their Parliament address.

This important anti-impaired driving measure will save lives and prevent injuries by reducing impaired driving.

Make your voice heard!

For more information, visit MADD Canada at http://www.madd.ca.

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Comments

  1. I’m so sorry for your loss. My thinking is that in the US police are more vigilant about checking for drunk drivers.

    • Thank you Walker! Yes, I believe in the US its an entirely different kettle of fish and I wish Canada would get up to speed. The longest jail sentence giving out for impaired driving causing death, in New Brunswisk at least, is around five years. And that isn’t the norm – typically there is no jail time or at most, two years if someone has multiple drunk driving priors and THEN kills someone. Last year in a statement, one judge said he was “sending a messaging” when he imposed a five year jail term. The guy had hit a car with two parents, and two children (around 10 and 12) and had killed BOTH parents. Five years – give me a break. I thought he definitely sent a message – one that said “here in Canada, we are lax on drunk drivers who kill people.” It’s a sad state of affairs. Not that long jail sentences will ever “bring a person back” but for the people left behind, at least you’d feel like the perpetrator paid in some terms…In Canada, we need to follow the US and give police more authority to stop and test and impose much harsher fines and penalties!

  2. Very sorry for your loss as well. I hope this can be implemented soon.

Trackbacks

  1. […] just in case you are interested in getting involved (if you live in Canada): Call to Action (for random breath […]

  2. […] just in case you are interested in getting involved (if you live in Canada): answer this Call to Action (for random breath testing, which will prevent these accidents from happening in the FIRST […]

  3. […] just in case you are interested in getting involved (if you live in Canada): answer this Call to Action (for random breath testing, which will prevent these accidents from happening in the FIRST […]

  4. […] just in case you are interested in getting involved (if you live in Canada): answer this Call to Action (for random breath testing, which will prevent these accidents from happening in the FIRST […]

  5. […] back in October of 2010, I sent out a call to action, via my blog and an email campaign to friends and family, to help bring random breath testing to […]

  6. […] feel the same way about random breath testing, which is another life-saving initiative that our Canadian government refuses to put into place […]

  7. […] Random Breath Testing (Source: MADD Canada). Nearly two years ago, I wrote a blog post about the need to bring random breath testing (RBT) to Canada and I am sad to report that this life saving measure is still. not. in. […]

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