Coroner will shed light on tragic accident
The rumours, which were spreading over the weekend, that criminal charges would be laid against the 17 yearold driver who lost her brother on January 27th are unfounded said Memphremagog Police spokesman Paul Tear. “Our chief has heard about them and we want to deny, absolutely, that no charges will be laid.” Mr. Tear explained that the corps would not ticket the minor, who we cannot identify, even if the victim, her brother, was ejected from the vehicle. “We do not want to place another burden on her,” he said. “The policeman has the discretion to ticket or not, and in this case he chose not to do so.”
It is an offense under article 401 of the Code de la sécurité routière to drive a vehicle when a passenger under sixteen is not wearing a seat belt. Numerous news reports have said that the young victim was not wearing his seatbelt. This is something that we should get used to as one writer wrote in a letter to the editor: “And don’t you dare complain about people not wearing seat belts, because most people in Stanstead don’t !” It should be said, in her defence, that the SAAQ, the Quebec automobile insurance board, while putting a brochure about buckling up on top of the educational material available for high schools students, admits that it is only available in French. There is, however, an excellent brochure available from Canada’s Minister of Transport available in print and on the web.
Transport Canada estimates that a thousand lives are saved yearly due to the high use of seat belts in Canada where 93% of drivers and passengers buckle up; the 7% who don’t accounting for 40% of the deaths in car accidents.
Meanwhile, Coroner Brigitte Morin told the Stanstead Journal that she will not hold a public enquiry on the matter, limiting the scope of her work to a simple inquest, the result of which should be made public before the end of the year.