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LETTER: Cops should cast wide net to nab impaired drivers

'There is no doubt in my mind that we will continue to see deaths and injuries on all our roads,' says letter writer
2021-06-06 impaired driving 1
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MidlandToday welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected] or via the website. Please include your full name, daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter is in response to an article about the province planning to suspend drivers’ licences for those convicted of stealing vehicles, published May 14.

It is reported that the Province of Ontario plans to suspend drivers’ licences for 10 years for those who have been convicted of stealing a car. Why won’t the Province of Ontario and the federal government crack down hard on those people who have been caught drinking alcohol and driving?

Even when an alcohol-impaired driver kills someone, the sentences are very, very weak that the courts impose. Anyone charged with driving after drinking alcohol should also automatically lose their driver’s licence for a 10-year period, and if they drive under suspension, they should add on another year each time they are caught driving under suspension as many people do drive under suspension.

It is my sincere hope, as it has been for the past 43 years, that the Ontario and federal governments will start to take alcohol-impaired driving seriously.

It was on this date, May 15, 1981, that my 15-year-old brother was killed by a drunk driver. His life was snuffed out and it is now over 25 years ago that I attended as a witness at the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights when they were reviewing sections of the Criminal Code as they relate to alcohol-impaired driving. Unfortunately, not much has changed in those 25 years as we still have alcohol-impaired drivers on our roads, and the latest statistics from 2023 indicated that, in Ontario, there was a 31 per cent increase in alcohol-related crashes.

There is no doubt in my mind that we will continue to see deaths and injuries on all our roads caused by alcohol-impaired drivers. In my opinion, we need all police services to make use of the mandatory alcohol screening law, which came into effect in April 2017, on as many roads and highways on a daily basis to screen as many drivers for alcohol as possible.

Doug Abernethy
Founder, Orillia Against Drunk Driving