Drunk driving convictions drop in Prince Edward Island

Ryan Ross
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When it comes to the dangers of drinking and driving, Islanders seem to slowly be getting the message as P.E.I. showed a drop in the number of convictions for the third year in a row.

Transportation Minister Robert Vessey said the government is making addressing the issue of impaired driving a priority and it seems to be working.

“It’s encouraging,” he said.

CLICK HERE FOR AN INTERACTIVE GRAPHIC OF DRUNK DRIVING CONVICTIONS SINCE 1980

The latest numbers released Thursday showed there were 297 convictions for impaired driving in P.E.I. in 2013, which was down from 327 the previous year.

Of those convictions, 169 were first-time offenders and 53 were on their second conviction, both of which were down from the previous years.

Where the province saw an increase was in the number of people who faced their third conviction or more in 2013.

That number rose from 65 in 2012 to 75 in 2013 and Vessey said chronic offenders were still an issue.

“Those numbers aren’t reducing the way I’d like,” he said.

Vessey said the public has played a big part in reducing the number of drunk drivers on the road, in part through a campaign to encourage Islanders to call 911 if they suspect someone is impaired.

“Those calls have really skyrocketed and those calls are turning into convictions,” he said.

P.E.I. has seen a gradual decrease in the number of drunk driving convictions over the years.

In 1980, there were 1,570 convictions.

Islanders also face some of the stiffest penalties for drunk driving with almost automatic jail time for a first conviction while Statistics Canada reported that in 2010-2011 eight per cent of convictions nationally ended in a jail sentence.

The provincial government also made changes to legislation that included mandatory use of the ignition interlock.

Another option the government is planning to tackle the issue is the introduction of a licence plate that would identify frequent offenders to police in a discreet way.

Vessey said he hopes to introduce them this spring or fall.

“We’re still looking at that as an option,” he said.

 

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/ryanrross

Organizations: Statistics Canada

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, P.E.I.

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Recent comments

  • UPWESTER
    January 11, 2014 - 08:57

    It's encouraging to see that the conviction rate is down as long as the number of charges is down as well. It would make more sense if the number of charges were reported as well as the convictions. Also, how many 2013 cases have been deferred to 2014? Is it comparable with the 2012/2013 ratio? Wth all the publicity lately of the number of DUIs, I have trouble in believing that the numbers are actually down, it seems more like they should be up.

  • up easterner
    January 10, 2014 - 15:17

    These Liberals are quite the SPIN DOCTERS.Any and every article, either e.i., schools,health care,highways, THEY ARE LOOKING AFTER THE BEST INTERST OF US LOWLY ISLANDERS.But really,at what expense to us remaining tax payers that have yet to leave the homes we built to go west.

  • Think About It
    January 10, 2014 - 14:37

    I don't believe for a second that impaired driving is down on PEI. The only thing that has been reduced on PEI is enforcement. If fewer convictions equal fewer drunk drivers then just eliminate law enforcement all together and we would have no convictions and by Governments reasoning no impaired drivers.

  • Don't Get too Excited
    January 10, 2014 - 12:10

    The rate of convictions is down, the amount of impaired drivers that are on the road may not be. Be diligent and call 911 when you suspect an impaired driver. Never let someone leave your home after drinking or using narcotics of any kind. Report your friends and family. Each call, every impaired driver removed from our roads, may be a life you are saving.

  • Have Another
    January 10, 2014 - 11:03

    May as well drink to that.

  • John R Cash
    January 10, 2014 - 10:48

    Yet another Liberal here spinning and patting themself on their back ...Can we also get an interactive graph detailing the decline in policing/RCMP patrolling in each of the three Island counties? (Specifically Kings county?) I think that would explain to the decline in drunk driving convictions Mr Transportation minister. I find it slightly contradictory looking at the other article today involving yet another drunk driving arrest made Jan 9th in Montague (only thanks to concerned public intervention leading to an arrest by the way) We are just over a week into 2014 and already 4 or 5 arrests made for impaired driving in as many days. So Island Liberals…is it time to build another liquor store in Kings county to better serve the island communities? Can’t have your cake and eat it too

    • don
      January 10, 2014 - 14:04

      where is the extra police ghiz was going to get us? the RCMP is doing a perfect job but they can not be every where. but thank God we have them. you may not like the police but just think what our roads and homes etc would be like with out them? i know weare not happy to get a ticket but they are doing for our safety and everyone on the roads. please call 911 if you think you see a drunk murder.