MADD P.E.I. lobbies Ottawa on impaired driving
Group wants more breathalyzer checks, tougher penalties
Two Prince Edward Islanders will join others from MADD Canada heading to Parliament Hill Thursday to ask the federal government to toughen drunk-driving laws.
The group is looking for changes in several aspects of federal law:
- Giving police power to administer a breathalyzer without cause at road checks,
- Mandatory sentences for repeat offenders,
- Longer sentences for higher blood alcohol content when it causes death.
Currently, police may only administer the breathalyzer if they have suspicions due to the smell of alcohol or poor driving. MADD Canada would like to see the technology used routinely at roadside checks.
Russ Stewart, president of Charlottetown's MADD chapter, will also be talking about repeat offenders. Stewart points to a case last week, when a P.E.I. man was sentenced to 22 monhts in jail for his ninth such conviction.
"That's a person who's bordering on qualifying for a dangerous offender record. It may sound a little extreme but if that person were to have a repeat of cases of assault causing bodily harm they would be a candidate for dangerous offender," said Stewart.
"They're putting the public at risk."
Stewart is an RCMP constable. He's just returned to work full-time after suffering a serious brain injury in a car accident in the fall of 2010. The woman who hit his car was more than twice the legal limit.
Stewart would like to see increased penalties for people with very high blood alcohol levels, when this leads to death.
He joins 12 MADD representatives from across the country for the Ottawa lobby. The group will meet with 20 MPs.