Impaired driving is the leading cause of criminal death in Canada

Two years ago, my beautiful mother-in-law’s life was cut tragically short by an impaired driver. In honor of Donna Jean Kennie, please don’t drink and drive. Impaired driving is 100% preventable. Think about it.

Here’s this week’s line up of impaired driving news.

Impaired driving causing death – charged

  • Montreal, Quebec: 18-year old charged with impaired driving causing death after allegedly hitting and killing a 17-year-old pedestrian.
  • Kitchener, Ontario: Man charged last weekend with second-degree murder, impaired driving causing death, and dangerous driving cause death after his best friend got out of his truck, walked in front of the vehicle and was hit.

Impaired driving causing death – sentenced

  • Ottawa, Ontario: Jack Tobin, 24, sentenced to 3 years in jail and prohibited from driving for 7 years. On Christmas Eve 2010, Alex Zolpis was killed in a downtown parking garage. Jack plead guilty to impaired driving causing death. The two had been long-time friends. During sentencing he said: “There are no excuses. I know how senseless this has been and how preventable Alex’s death was. I truly wish that I had been the only victim of my actions that night. The consequences of drinking and driving are deadly. They are real, they are enduring — a nightmare from which you never wake up.

Impaired driving causing death – paroled

Impaired driving causing bodily harm – evidence excluded

  • Moncton, New Brunswick: Three charges against an RCMP’s daughter of impaired driving causing bodily harm were withdrawn after an officer on the same police force bungled an affidavit for a court order to seize the accused’s hospital records, a judge’s ruling says.

Impaired driving – charged

  • Sudbury, Ontario: Between August 20-31, five people in Greater Sudbury were caught drinking and driving, including one driver who fell asleep while getting gas.  
  • St. Catharines, Ontario: 21-year-old suspect charged with impaired driving. A 20-year-old man sustained life-threatening injuries and a 21-year-old had minor injuries.
  • Brampton, Ontario: Impaired driver drives into police canine unit.
  • Sudbury, Ontario: Suspect charged with impaired driving, refusing to provide a breath sample and breach of recognizance.

Impaired driving – found guilty

  • Kelowna, British Columbia: A construction contractor was found guilty of impaired driving at twice the legal limit.

Impaired driving – sentenced

  • Saint John, New Brunswick: 61-one-year-old man was sentenced to 3 days in jail and received a 3-year driving ban and was fined $2300 an after being caught driving at more than double the legal limit. This wasn’t his first offence.
  • Burton, New Brunswick: A habitual drunk driver was sentenced to six months in jail for his fourth impaired driving offence and this time he was caught driving an ATV. The judge also imposed a 3-year driving ban.
  • Sudbury, Ontario: Repeat offender, 54, was sentenced to 13 months in jail after 9 previous impaired driving convictions. He was under a lifetime driving prohibition for his previous record at the time of his arrest. Other than the jail time, he was served another lifetime driving ban (since the last one was so effective).
  • Mississauga, Ontario: 29-year-old truck driver was so high on heroin that he had to be put on life-support after getting caught careening along a highway. He was sentenced to 90-days in jail (served on weekends) and 15-month driving ban. 

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How has impaired driving affected your life? Please…share…I want to know!



  1. Dear Natalie
    I am so saddened to know that your family was touched by this terrible crime.
    We should all be 100% in favour of strong penalties and laws that work toward eliminating the problem of drunk drivers completely.

    • Thank you so much Patricia. Until we were affected but this horrendous crime, we had no idea how prevalent it really is and how slack our laws are. There are so many loopholes and escape routes, it’s so sad. I hope someday we can rectify the situation and somehow eradicate drunk driving entirely.

  2. Very sorry to hear about the tragic loss of your mother-in-law. I used to work weekend and holiday shifts in a hospital. Part of my job was to draw blood for blood alcohol levels. It always amazed me that the majority of the offenders were repeats.

    • Thank you Jennifer! That must have been such an eye-opening shocker. Research shows that by the time they’ve been arrested, impaired drivers have likely driven impaired anywhere between 80 and 2,000 times – unbelievable.

  3. What a shame you lost your mother-in-law to a drunk driver. All those people listed up there? They should be in jail for a long time, especially the repeat offenders.

    When I was 15, my brother 16, he got hit by a drunk driver. Tim drove an open jeep and two of the girls (my good friends) were thrown clear of the vehicle and both required extensive brain surgery and rehab. My brother and the other two passengers were fairly messed up a well, but not as bad as the two girls. It was devastating and the drunk driver didn’t have insurance, so we got sued by all the passengers. Of course our insurance covered it, but my friendships deteriorated after the accident. All the other parents blamed my son. Tragic, since it wasn’t his fault in the least.

    Keep up the good work, Natalie!

    • I agree completely Tameri, they should be in jail and especially repeat offenders.

      I am stunned by your story and am so sorry you were impacted by impaired driving. It’s so sad how devastating it can be and how it can tear families and friends apart. Its affects and impacts are felt like a ripple effect and what makes it worse, is it’s so preventable. I am really sorry your family had to bear the weight of the blame when it was so obviously misplaced. Devastating!

  4. Nancy J Nicholson says:

    Almost 30 years ago, my parents were the victims of impared driving. My father was fatally wounded and my mother underwent years of surgery. The driver was taken to another hospital and wasn’t tested right away. The laws and precautions for persecution have been benefited since that time. I rest a bit easier knowing that man has to live with his choices and he didn’t come out unscathed. It’s never easy, but it does get better with time.

    • It never ceases to amaze me how many people around me have been affected by impaired driving. Nancy, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your father and the injuries your Mom sustained. That is awful. You are so right; the laws have certainly improved in the last 30 years although they still have a ways to come. I commend you for finding peace knowing the man has to live with his choices…because you are. In the end, beyond jail and driving bans, it’s on each of us to live with the consequences of our actions.

  5. I’m so sorry to hear about your dear mother-in-law Natalie. It happens way to often here in Indiana too.

    A couple of years ago our daughter called us from a gas station at 3 a.m. saying her boyfriend at the time was too drunk to drive and she wasn’t in the best of shape either. He had taken the keys away from her to drive them across town and she convinced him to stop. We live an hour away but I hopped in that car with my jammies on.

    What we saw when we pulled up to get our daughter was devastating. Her boyfriend was so drunk he could barely put one foot in front of the other. My daughter wasn’t drunk but she knew she was probably over the legal limit if they’d been pulled over by police if she’d been driving so she was no angel in this either. We picked her up and left him to walk home or get a taxi. We didn’t care.

    The next day I called him and told him about all the innocent people who could have been killed. Mothers, fathers, kids, grandkids… maybe even someone he knew… and how his life and the life of others would be changed for forever… He listened and was apologetic. No one had ever explained it to him quite that way.. I was stunned.

    It made me think about how we need to start with our kids and teach our kids friends too. The whole it takes a village concept. I know it’s not the answer but it’s a start. My daughter got a good damn lecture too. Last year, a friend of hers was killed by a drunk driver while she was walking home from classes at University. A sad way to further cement a lesson learned.

    Thanks for this post. Sorry I wrote an entire novel on your blog but this is such a problem. It’s always the innocent who are killed or maimed and never the driver. Keep up the good fight Natalie.
    I’ll keep preaching to the youngsters.

    • Kate, you can write a long comment anytime you wish. 🙂
      Your story blew me away. It’s very powerful! I am so happy your daughter thought to call you and likely saved a lot of lives that night. And it’s sad that she then lost another friend to impaired driving. And KUDOS to you for going to get her and for calling her boyfriend and letting him know just how close he came to endangering innocent people’s lives. I hope he learned his lesson!
      I agree, we need to start teaching young people early on; in a way that they hear it and get it. My step-son was in the car with my mother-in-law. He survivor with minor physical injuries but his emotional ones will take years (if ever) to heal. I know that when he shares his story with others, the message of not drinking and driving comes across loud and clear.
      Keep up the good fight too Kate!!! Hopefully someday we’ll see a world where impaired driving no longer exists.

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