Tougher consequences will stop impaired driving

Impaired driving is one of the biggest embarrassments this society owns.

The youth truly are the future of our province and nation. That’s why it is important that the new Mothers Against Drunk Driving are premiering their new film to a middle school in Edmonton.

The film “24 hours” will be shown by MADD to students at Dan Knott Jr. High School this week, and revolves around a group of friends who get stranded at a party and make the wrong choice to get home. Hopefully, students watching the film take something home from it and there’ll be fewer tragedies linked to impaired driving afterwards. You hope.

But sometimes the attention given impaired driving goes to the wrong audience. Are middle school students old enough to understand the consequences of their actions?

It’s like the candlelight vigils that victim advocates group hold for the survivors of impaired driving. Lectures are given on how impaired driving kills not only victims, but destroys the lives of those left behind. The sad truth is that the brokenhearted and devastated survivors who attend candlelight vigils aren’t the ones who need to hear about the consequences. They are well aware of the consequences.

Readers may remember a tragic episode that occurred not far away in Red Deer in 2010 when drunk driver Chad Mitchell Olsen ran a red light in his pick-up truck on Feb. 7, 2010 and t-boned a married couple heading home. Olsen, who was three times the legal limit, killed Brad and Krista Howe, and left their five children orphans. Olsen only served 16 months in prison after killing two innocent people and likely destroying the lives of their children and other family members.

While there’s nothing wrong with candlelight vigils, if there was true justice in this society, everyone would get up, leave the vigil and walk down the street to the local bar or drug den and screen the MADD films or give those “consequences” lectures to the people who actually need to hear it.

Impaired driving is one of the biggest embarrassments this society owns. Impaired driving, and specifically the consequences faced by killers who fill graveyards, destroy families and lives then drive away to enjoy the rest of their own lives, has to be reexamined by our leaders and true consequences, including solid jail time for killers and lifetime financial support from the killers for the orphans they leave behind, introduced to satisfy the most important question in our society. And that is the question of whether or not justice has been served.