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
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.