It was a sunny and hot August long weekend.
Sadly, there were also some very dark clouds for the families and friends of several people who died or were injured in accidents over the three days. And alcohol is thought to be a contributing factor in many of the tragic events that unfolded in Westman and across the province. There were also many drunk drivers nabbed by police before they potentially turned their vehicles into death machines.
Again we shake our heads and say: “When are people going to learn? When are people going to get the message about not drinking and driving?”
Obviously many people will jump behind the wheel after being well over the legal limit — and they damn well know they are — and risk the lives or well-being of everyone they might have as a passenger or might encounter as they weave down the road.
If they are lucky, they might end up getting nailed while sitting in a drive-thru waiting for that delicious burger that will “sober them up.”
If the community is unlucky, people will be hurt, maimed or killed by the actions of an impaired driver. It’s sickening. In Brandon alone, while violent crime and property crime were both down overall in 2013, compared to the previous year, vehicle theft and impaired driving both went up. And here are just a few headlines from very recent editions of the Sun:
• “Minnedosa Man Killed In Crash Near Festival Site”
• “Driver Faces Charge After Drive-Thru Crash”
• “Man Stopped Near Club Faces Impaired Charges”
• “Man Jailed After 4th Impaired Driving Conviction”
• “Driver Drunk, Passengers Too”
• “Pair Of Drunk Drivers Nabbed”
• “Pair Of Severely Impaired Drivers Banned, Fined”
• “Impaired Driving Suspects Nabbed At Checkstops”
• “Woman Charged With Assault After Trying To Drive
The last headline is from a story about a Thompson man who tried to stop his wife from driving drunk and police said he got a fist in the face for his troubles.
The wife has been charged with assault after the incident at a hotel on the 1000-block of 18th Street.
We applaud the man for doing his civic duty. We wish there were more people out there like him.
On average, every five days someone in Manitoba is killed or seriously injured in an impaired driving collision. That’s information from Manitoba Public Insurance that was published in the Sun in late 2013.
MPI wanted to remind motorists that in addition to the human cost of impaired driving, there’s also the economic cost to consider.
On Dec. 1, 2013, a new provincial law came into effect. Motorists caught drinking and driving move down five levels on MPI’s driver safety rating upon receiving a roadside administrative suspension for driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between .05 to .08 per cent or failing a physical co-ordination test.
The new law also impacts drivers who receive roadside suspensions for registering a BAC over .08 per cent, or for refusing to provide a breath sample.
Criminal Code convictions for impaired driving already result in downward movement on the driver safety rating scale.
“Manitoba is committed to being one of the toughest provinces in Canada in the battle against drinking drivers, and these changes reinforce this commitment,” said Justice Minister Andrew Swan, the minister responsible for MPI.
“The message is very clear — drinking and driving is not acceptable. For drivers who still don’t get the message, this new law will impact their basic Autopac discount and cost of their driver’s licence.”
While the government and its officials might want to believe its anti-drunk driving message is very clear, it’s simply never going to penetrate the booze-fogged minds of those arrogant nitwits who just don’t give a damn.
We suggest the only real solution is not just to take away their car keys and much of their cash, but also to lock them up and throw away the jail door keys as well for a much longer period of time.
Let the drunk drivers have a nice long period of sober reflection on what they did.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 6, 2014