Saskatchewan

New approaches needed to stop drunk drivers, father of victim Danille Kerpan says

A Saskatchewan father whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver in 2014 is pushing for changes to how the province and the judicial system deal with drunk driving.

Allan Kerpan is pushing for tougher sentences, more police-monitoring capabilities

After John Koch was sentenced for impaired driving causing the death of Danille Kerpan, Danille's father Allan spoke to reporters about the difficult court journey. (Chanss Lagaden/CBC)

A Saskatchewan father and former politician whose 25-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver in 2014 is speaking out about stopping people before they get behind the wheel and in punishing those convicted of the crime. 

Allan Kerpan's daughter, Danille, was killed after leaving Davidson when she was hit head-on by a drunk driver who was on the wrong side of Highway 11.

The driver, John Koch, pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death and was sentenced to four years in prison.

I'm advocating for the three-strike rule ... you lose your privilege to drive forever; it's just that simple.- Allan Kerpan

Kerpan has become outspoken on the need for changes to how drunk driving cases are handled.

The former Reform Party MP and former Saskatchewan Party MLA  says it should happen at both the federal and provincial levels.

RELATED: Impaired driving still number one killer on Sask. roads

On the federal side, he says, there should be legislation that allows for random roadside breath testing. 

On the provincial side, there is also more that needs to be done, he says.

"I'm advocating for the three-strike rule, whereby if you get three [driving while impaired convictions] you lose your privilege to drive forever; it's just that simple."

Along with that change, if a driver injures or kills someone while drunk, he or she ought to be prohibited from driving for at least 10 years, Kerpan said. 

Speaking with host Sheila Coles on The Morning Edition, Kerpan discussed initiatives underway in Ohio and Prince Albert. 

In Ohio, he said, there's legislation that "requires someone who's convicted of more than one DUI to display a bright orange licence plate on their vehicle. It's a shame factor and also a tool for police officers.They can do a random check to make sure that person is not suspended and also not driving while intoxicated."

Far too much of our justice system is built on case law, right?- Allan Kerpan

A pilot project in Prince Albert is making  use of a licence plate reader, he explained.

After scanning a driver's plate, "instantly a police officer can tell about the driver, if there's a DUI conviction or some other driving restriction."

Danille Kerpan, 25, was killed by a drunk driver John Koch on Oct. 10, 2014, near Bladworth, Sask. (Kerpan Family)

Referring to the four-year sentence handed to Koch, Kerpan said it gave him and his family hope for some change. He noted the average sentence in Saskatchewan is about 30 months for impaired driving causing death. 

Koch also received an 11-year driving prohibition. 

Kerpan said he's hopeful that Koch's case will be taken into consideration when the trial for Catherine McKay starts.

She's the driver charged with impaired driving causing the deaths of all four members of the Van de Vorst family in an early 2016 collision north of Saskatoon.

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