Impaired driving charges are as common in today’s newspaper as the weather report. What we as a society have failed at, is drastically reducing or eliminating it. We treat violators, be they 1st or 2nd time offenders with court dates, fines, license suspension and even jail time, but rarely eliminating the problem. Often you read cases of those with license suspensions continuing to drive.
While it might not be politically correct to say, what we need in Canada is appropriate punishment. Now I know many will say that as a society we do not punish people, rather we try to help them. To that I will say we already punish. If you speed you get a ticket, no seat belt – ticket, fail to stop – ticket, and I can go on. Who could argue that having to fork over money for something you do not want does not hurt.
While I do believe in the spirit of giving second chances, for some crimes, I feel that we already do it with impaired drivers. Anyone caught driving with over the legal limit has a court date, fine, license suspended for a time period, and usually within 2 years back to normal. But how do we deal with it from this point on?
What we require is a model that, after your first conviction for impaired or driving under suspension from impaired, or being in an accident while impaired (regardless of 1st time or not), the vehicle you are driving is seized, sold at auction with all money going to the local schools and hospitals. Now the punishment fits the crime. Vehicle not paid fully – your problem, borrowed a friends vehicle – your problem. How many people would think twice about impaired driving if the consequences of a greater punishment really affected them. I can think of nothing more appropriate as, where the punishment fits the crime.