Three neighbouring provinces in Western Canada lead the country in DUI related crashes.
Unfortunately, compared to much of the developed world, Canada has some of the highest drunk-driving death records with rates higher than that of: the United States, New Zealand, Australia and France.
This past weekend was a deadly one on Manitoban roads, as Saturday saw three separate incidents in a 10-hour period where three people were killed and 11 injured.
According to the RCMP, 40-percent of driving related deaths on the province’s roads are the result of impaired driving. “It’s extremely frustrating,” said Ed Moreland, officer in charge of Traffic Services for Manitoba RCMP speaking to Global News.
“Of the 1,500 to 2,000 drivers we take off the road each year, approximately half of those arrests are a result of a member of the public calling 911. I want to see that number increase.”
In a sternly worded news release asking driver’s to be more cautious or risk more fatalities on our roads, Moreland continued, "There is no possible excuse for this behaviour and unless all Manitobans commit to safe driving, this loss of life will continue to occur.”
“For those drivers on our roads that choose to put the lives of others in danger, the Manitoba RCMP will be doing everything it can to stop them and hold them accountable for their actions.”
According to reports by obtained by Global News from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), 54.8 percent driving deaths in Saskatchewan are the result of impaired driving. Manitoba follows close behind with 54.08 percent. Alberta rounds off the top three at 50.2 percent. The Canadian national average is 42.5 percent.
It was only last month that the former deputy premier of Saskatchewan Don McMorris was charged for driving under the influence after being pulled over when his car was spotted weaving across a public road just before noon. He pleaded guilty to the charges and claimed he was drinking the night before.
Considering his blood-alcohol level was over two and a half times the legal limit when stopped by police the following morning, even the judge was skeptical about his story. McMorris has since stepped down from the cabinet.
MADD from Saskatchewan and Manitoba are calling for stiffer penalties in face of these recent incidents. But until something changes on a legislative level, the only hope the general public has to stop the driving fatalities stemming from DUI is to strongly discourage those around us who drink and drive; and call 911 when you spot drivers on the road if you suspect them of being impaired.
Photo: RCMP Manitoba via Facebook