In need of new mentality
If you perused the online docket for provincial court in Harbour Grace last week, you would have seen as many as eight driving under the influences cases being heard. That seems a little high doesn’t it? Sure, it does. But, from conversations with members of the Trinity Conception RCMP, it is just the norm. What does that say about our mentality? Imagine, eight drunk driving cases is not unusual to see in this area.
In fact, it is not unusual in any part of the country to find drivers under the influence.
A Statistics Canada study released in 2011 found that the number of drunk drivers was up by two per cent over the previous year. That marked the fourth such increase in five years. It is staggering when you think about it. Those aren’t large numbers, but they’re large enough to be troublesome.
Even with the attention paid to the problem by MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and other groups of that nature, people are still choosing to get behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking. People aren’t learning. A couple of weeks ago, a Paradise man was involved in his third alcohol-related vehicle accident. His third! You’d think that after his first, he’d realize it was a bad idea to put the key in the ignition.
But, it speaks to a problem in society. We just aren’t learning.
How many accidents or deaths related to accidents will it take before we stop taking the risk?
One positive, if you can call it that, taken from the report is that the number of alcohol-related deaths in accidents is the lowest in 25 years. Is that something we should be applauding? Sure, less people are dying, but at the same time, more people are committing the crime. Is that really progress? Police are working hard to quell the problem. In 2011, police country-wide apprehended 90,000 drunk drivers in 2011, which is up 3,000 from 2010 according to Statistics Canada.
So, here why it’s a great thing that there were eight such cases heard in Harbour Grace.
It means the officers of the RCMP in this region are making a concerted effort to crack down on the offenders. It means their diligence is starting to pay off. Now, if only the rest of the populace would catch on. It’s been a law since 1951 when Canada amended its criminal code to make it illegal to operate a motor vehicle when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. So, why has it taken so long for it to catch on? It’s like we don’t care about the safety of others on the road.
Our ignorance of the law says we’d rather have a good time and drive our vehicle home than take a taxi or some other alternate means of travel.
And, it’s not just young people who are committing the offense. It’s across the board. Men and women of all ages are choosing to put their lives and the lives of others in danger.
We need to take a look in the mirror as a society as a whole.