Intoxicated Drivers

     On 31 August 1997, Princess Diana died tragically in a car crash driven by a
drunken chauffer. Her death was shocking on several levels. It was violent.
"It sent those she had touched through her charity work into heartbroken
mourning, and saddened millions more who had never met her but who had followed
her troubled and sometimes troublesome life with the intimacy that modern
celebrity affords". This accident would not have happened if the driver was
not intoxicated by alcohol. The recent figures from Statistics Canada show that
there has been a 50% reduction from 1981 to 1996 in the number of Canadians
being charged with drunk driving. There is a lifelong sorrow for the relatives
of the fatal victims; moreover, there are astronomical costs, and problems for
repeat offenders. Drunk drivers cause more deaths, injuries, and destruction
than all murderers, muggers, rapists, and robbers combined. Every six hours,
someone is killed by an impaired driver. Every twenty minutes, someone somewhere
in Canada becomes a victim to an impaired driver. Every year, more than 45% of
all traffic fatalities involve alcohol. More than 1.700 Canadians die each year
as the consequence of intoxicated drivers. Tens of millions of dollars are spent
annually in court costs, rehabilitation, lost earnings, health care, and social
programs all because of drinking driving accidents. This money comes directly
out of the citizens' pockets in taxes and lost revenue. Transport Canada reports
the minimum loss to society as a result of road accidents involving alcohol as:
$390,000 per fatal accidents $310,000 per fatality $12,000 per injury accidents
$3,600 per injured victim Almost 30,000 Criminal Code license suspensions were
issued in 1992 for drinking driving related charges. Over one-half (59%) were
repeat drinking driving offenses. Of all suspensions issued for impaired
driving, 65% were issued for a second or subsequent offense. Crashes happen more
often in summer than winter. Over two-thirds of the crashes occur on weekends;
one quarter of all crashes happens on Saturday. More than 66% of drinking
driving crashes happen between 1800hrs and 0300hrs. Every forty-five minutes in

Ontario, a driver is involved in an alcohol related crash. The profiles of these
perpetrators of this crime are 90% male in the 25-34 age category. People drink
for many reasons. It is a way to escape from pressure and stress. Also, it is a
relief from emotional and financial problems. Some people are pressured into
drinking by their peers. Drinking is a social aspect. It is an accepted practice
in the business world. Some solutions to reduce drinking driving problems are to
lower the blood alcohol content (BAC) for the Breathalyzer test. The government
can increase the suspension of licenses from a three-month period to a longer
period such as one year. Repeat offenders should receive a jail sentence.

Lastly, our government should strongly increase the education about alcohol
abuse and the consequences of drinking and driving