War on drunk driving

Time and time again we hear of people choosing to get behind the wheel after they have been drinking and they risk the lives not only of themselves, but of others as well.

Just last week we saw another man charged with impaired driving causing death. Although his matter is before the court and of course he is innocent until proven guilty, it is terrible to even hear that he has been charged with impaired driving and that alcohol could possibly be involved.

Impaired driving in Red Deer is certainly an issue. Monthly we hear about people being charged and the numbers seem consistent.

We all know the consequences, so why is the message not sinking in? It’s the same old thing with human nature – ‘it will never happen to me. I’ll never get caught. Just this once. I don’t have far to go. I don’t have another way home.’ The excuses go on and on and on, and it’s just getting very tiresome to the community at large.

When people drink, you basically aren’t dealing with a rational, normal person anymore. Gone are the inhibitions, gone is the common sense, and so really, education and penalties only can go so far when people are stuck in a drunken haze.

Still, however, penalties need to be tougher – much tougher – so they are something of a deterrent. It’s mind-boggling how lightly this issue is still treated in the courts.

To show where this province is at in terms of some statistics, as part of promoting traffic safety for the May Long Weekend and Canada Road Safety Week, Alberta’s Integrated Traffic Units focused their weekend efforts on reducing impaired driving, distracted driving, speeding and getting people to buckle up.

Integrated Traffic Units were out in full force during the long weekend, with several units operating at full capacity in order to respond to impaired drivers, speeders and distracted driving.

Between May 16th and May 19th officers laid more than 4,500 charges across the province.

This included 56 drivers who had been drinking and were removed from the roads, compared to 35 in 2014 and 50 in 2013; 4,369 speeding violations issued compared to 3,960 in 2014 and 4,049 in 2013; 39 drivers who were charged with distracted driving, compared to 60 in 2014 and 68 in 2013; 60 people were charged with failing to use seatbelts or child safety seats compared to 167 in 2014 and 240 in 2015.

Numbers like these should be disturbing to everyone.

As a community we need to find a way to get this message across. The effects are certainly far-reaching, and as we all know, these tragedies are of course completely preventable.

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