Driver’s license is a privilege, not a right

After 14 convictions related to impaired driving, time to permanently take license?

Here’s some good news to mark impaired driving awareness month. Impaired driving, and its predictable consequences, is a serious problem in this country, and in particular Alberta. A certain sector of Alberta likes to drink and drive. The punishments and consequences, especially for repeat offenders, are not serious enough. In fact, some people might call the punishments and consequences nothing but jokes.

The following press release was received by the Leduc/Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer this past week:

“High level RCMP Detachment News Release Impaired Driving Convictions at High Level Provincial Court

“On December 8 54 Year Old Ricky James Cardinal of Keg River Alberta was convicted of two separate incidents of impaired driving in High Level provincial court.

“The first charge resulted from an incident on May 4 in the settlement of Paddle Prairie, Cardinal was charged with impaired care and control of a motor vehicle. Cardinal received a sentence of nine months imprisonment and a three year driving prohibition.

“The second charge resulted from an incident on June 7 near the Keg River Cabins, Cardinal was charged with impaired operation of a motor vehicle and driving while prohibited. Cardinal received a sentence of 456 days imprisonment and a four year driving prohibition.

“These convictions were Cardinal’s 13th and 14th convictions respectively related to impaired operation of a motor vehicle.”

Are you kidding, criminal justice system? This fellow has 14 convictions related to drunk driving, and he’s only getting a couple years suspension and a few months in jail? He got a driving while prohibited conviction, which shows you what he thinks of a license suspension. What does someone have to do to get his or her license removed permanently? This fellow is a danger to everyone around him, and he’s being let off the hook. Like a lot of other drunk drivers.

Impaired driving is a serious problem in Canada, particularly in Alberta. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, “Over five years, approximately 8,600 people were convicted of impaired driving in Alberta each year.

“On average in Alberta, one in five drivers involved in fatal collisions have been drinking prior to the collision. This compares to an average of about one in 20 drivers involved in injury collisions. As the severity of the collision increases, so does the likelihood the collision will involve a drinking driver.

“On average each year almost 90 people were killed and 1,330 people were injured in collisions involving at least one driver who had consumed alcohol prior to the crash (2009-2013). In 2013, 80 people were killed and 1,133 were injured.”

Nothing is going to change with impaired driving punishments until the public demands the politicians do something substantial about it.

Sadly, Albertans have a provincial government that is more concerned about ensuring labour unions can extend their influence into the agriculture employment industry. The next time you talk to your MLA, demand tougher penalties for repeat impaired drivers.

The next person they kill could be you.