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Politicians Weak on Impaired Driving: Currie

February 27, 2016 8:13 AM | Columns

By Roger Currie

Impaired Driving

(Impaired driving image via Shutterstock)

Marco Muzzo is a man who will be spending the next few years behind bars in southern Ontario, but eventually he will be released, and chances are he will drive a vehicle again.

The same cannot be said for the three young children and their grandfather that he killed last September 27 when he blew through a stop sign with a blood alcohol level that was almost three times the legal limit in Vaughan, Ont.

All of Canada shared the very public grief of the kids’ mother and father, and all that’s left is for a judge to decide how long Marco’s sentence will be. His remorse seemed fairly genuine, but it doesn’t do much for the ongoing problem of the slaughter on highways that results from drinking and driving.

Perhaps the day is not all that far off when none of us will even control what happens behind the wheel. Driverless cars are being tested in more and more places. Until that happens, there’s another relatively inexpensive technology that would help cut down on the toll of death and injury. It’s called ignition interlock.

The vehicle simply won’t start if the driver is unable to supply a breath sample that is free of alcohol. It has been used for several years in cases of repeat offenders. For a few hundred dollars, it could be standard equipment on all vehicles, both new and used.

Why doesn’t it happen? Might it have something to do with the power of the liquor industry? Politicians seem to be afraid of coming down too hard on brewers and distillers, and the locals who run the hospitality business.

Last month in Manitoba, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of women being allowed to vote. The women’s suffrage movement was closely linked with the campaign to abolish liquor. Prohibition was tried for a number of years in both Canada and the United States, and it was a dismal failure.

Hopefully at some point, technology will achieve what politics and the justice system have been unable to do.

A judge will deliver her sentence to Marco Muzzo on March 29th.

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Roger Currie is a writer, storyteller, voice for hire, observer of life on the Canadian prairies, and can be heard on CJNU 93.7FM in Winnipeg.

Tags: Canada