Court decision could curb impaired driving

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As much as law enforcement agencies may attempt to end it, the truth is drinking and driving will always be a part of our culture. We have come a long way since the days when getting behind the wheel after a few drinks was completely acceptable, and punishments minor, but despite our best efforts people will still play with their lives and those of others after having a bit too much to drink.

A ruling Thursday by the Supreme Court of Canada could make it more difficult for repeat offenders to continue driving. In a 7-0 decision, the Supreme Court ruled a judge in Quebec was wrong to deny the forfeiture order for a vehicle belonging to a drunk driver, who pleaded guilty to two counts of impaired driving after a April 2010 incident in Baie Comeau, Que.

At the time, the Crown moved to seize the truck Alphide Manning was driving when arrested, but the defence argued the loss of a $1,000 vehicle – his sole – asset would be too harsh. The judge denied the forfeiture application and that province’s Court of Appeal denied a Crown appeal of the decision.

Manning had five convictions for alcohol-related driving offences and three for breaches of probation orders and undertakings. Truth is he continued to drive after he lost his licence and spending time in jail and paying fines was not going to change that.

There are other Alphide Manning’s across this country, including Nova Scotia. There seems to have been an increase in impaired driving offences across the northern region in recent months. It could be that more people are thinking it’s OK for them to drink and drive, and it could be a result of increased enforcement through checkstops and roadside tests.

The statistics show a horrible price that has been paid on the highways of Cumberland County, where even one alcohol-related driving death is one too many. Police and the courts need to have additional powers to get drunk drivers off the roads, and while we may not expect to see them lurking around every corner looking for an impaired driver to pull over they should at least be given the tolls to stop those people who continue to get behind the wheel multiple times after their licences have been revoked.

Knowing the vehicle, that could be your only means of transportation, could be lost for good would hopefully be enough to convince those hardcore drunk drivers who are willing to take the chance. Pretty hard to take that chance, when you mode of transportation is no longer available.

 

Organizations: Supreme Court of Canada

Geographic location: Quebec, Baie Comeau, Que, Nova Scotia Cumberland County

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  • Concerned
    January 19, 2013 - 06:47

    If you take their vehicle away they are going to buy another $200 car and keep reoffending. Normally the ones who get caught have licenses already suspended and are driving with no license or insurance on vehicle. A drunk with a vehicle is like a psyco with a gun.....punish them the same.