Beyond the Headlines

Calling the cops on drunk drivers

Posted: Jul 13, 2012 12:22 PM ET Last Updated: Jul 13, 2012 12:22 PM ET
There was more evidence this week that most Nova Scotians have zero sympathy for those who insist on drinking and driving.
 
Consider this: in the first six months of this year, 300 people were charged with drinking and driving in HRM. 92 of those arrests came after concerned citizens called 911 to report a suspected impaired driver.
 
Think about that. Almost one third of all the people arrested in HRM for impaired driving were caught because someone made the effort to call police. Every one of those was an accident waiting to happen.
 
Much of the credit has to go to Mothers Against Drunk Driving and their Campaign 911, a program they began in 2007.
 
That's the good news.
 
The sobering reality is there are still lots of people who believe they are above the law, or that they can "hold their liquor."  As many as 60 drunk drivers are arrested in Halifax every month. Almost two every day, and we all know there are plenty more out there who don't get caught.
 
Dig deeper into the statistics and you realize that it's not just chronic alcoholics who are getting behind the wheel after having a few too many.
 
Men are still the most likely to drive drunk (246 of the 300 charged were men); the remaining 54 were women, continuing a trend that is seeing more women charged with impaired driving.
 
It's not just young people. According to police records, the ages of those charged so far this year, range from 15 (imagine getting an impaired driving charge before you're even old enough to drive) all the way to 77 years old.
 
Halifax deputy police chief Chris McNeil put it this way. "In my experience as a police officer, these people [impaired drivers] look like you and me," said McNeil, "they are your neighbour, they are my neighbour."
 
No one can profess ignorance of the dangers of drinking and driving, or the need to call a cab or call a friend if you've had a few.
 
But if you are one of those people who, for some inexplicable reason, still believes those rules don't apply to you, or that you won't get caught, remember this: if you get behind the wheel, or are spotted driving erratically, there are a growing number of Nova Scotians who won't hesitate to call the cops.
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About the Author

Brian DuBreuil is a veteran journalist with CBC News. He has won two Gemini awards for his work, and neither involved dancing or singing on a reality show.

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