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Should Ontario overhaul how it charges drunk drivers?

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The head of Mother’s Against Drunk Driving is calling on the Ontario government to overhaul how it charges people caught driving drunk and to implement partial decriminalization, a change the province appears open to considering.

Andrew Murie, CEO of MADD Canada, told Ontario Today on Thursday that partial decriminalization of driving under the influence charges reduces deaths caused by drunk driving.

Drunk driving to be largely decriminalized in Alberta in 2018
B.C. drinking and driving deaths down significantly
Since British Columbia introduced decriminalization legislation in 2010, police officers have been offering people caught driving under the influence for the first time — as long as they have not caused damage to property or injured anyone — the option of choosing administrative sanctions or criminal charges.

In a few years, the number of road deaths related to impaired driving had fallen dramatically.

“The focus of that program is solely on things that might rehab and reduce recidivism, where the criminal code focuses more on a punishment,” Murie said.

“Immediately behaviour changed [in B.C.],” he added. “People were continuing to go out and purchasing alcohol, but when it came to the actual act of driving their behaviours changed.”

Processing administrative sanctions is also much quicker than processing criminal charges and sending someone to court, so the change is saving money in courts and in police services, he said.


Read the full article here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/decriminalize-drunk-driving-madd-ontario-1.4473689


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