Mothers Against Drunk Driving calls for tougher legislation after Van de Vorst family killed in crash
49-year-old woman charged with four counts of impaired driving causing death
A national drunk-driving organization says tougher laws may have prevented a fatal crash that killed a Saskatoon family of four.
Early Sunday morning, Jordan and Chanda Van de Vorst, along with their two children, two-year-old Miguire and five-year-old Kamryn were killed when their vehicle was struck on the highway just outside of Saskatoon.
49-year-old Catherine McKay is facing four counts of impaired driving causing death in the crash.
"With any of these tragedies, they don't need to happen," said Andrew Murie, CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada (MADD). "They're totally preventable, because impairment is not something that has to happen. It's a choice a person makes. A very bad choice. And in this case, has wiped out a whole family."
The latest numbers from MADD show Saskatchewan has one of the highest per capita rates of alcohol-related road crash deaths in the country. In 2014, the province saw triple the number of alcohol-related road crash deaths compared to the rest of the country.
While MADD believes the situation is improving thanks to tougher provincial legislation, Murie believes more must be done.
"The real sad story in this is the lack of action from the federal government," he said. "They failed to act on impaired driving in the last parliament, despite promises of things they were going to do."
Murie wants to see random breath testing implemented across the country. In other countries, like Australia, police have the ability to stop drivers at random and give them a sobriety test.
"It's commonplace across the world, except in North America," said Murie. "In countries where they've put this in place, they've seen reductions anywhere from 25 to 30 per cent in one year. Not only will that help in Saskatchewan, it'll help right across the country."
In 2014, Saskatchewan strengthened its impaired driving laws. Anyone convicted of impaired driving now receives a mandatory ignition interlock device on their vehicles. As well, there is a zero drug and alcohol tolerance for drivers under 19 years of age, as well as anyone in the Graduated Driver License program.
Impaired drivers are also now facing longer licence suspensions and vehicle seizures.