© Guardian photo by Heather Taweel
MADD Canada CEO Andrew Murie says he supports the P.E.I. government's efforts to stop repeat drunk drivers.
As the provincial government takes steps to try and stop repeat drunk driving offenders, the head of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada is praising the effort.
Andrew Murie, MADD Canada's CEO, was in P.E.I. last week and in an interview with The Guardian said he was impressed by the province's commitment to the issue through measures that have never been tried in Canada.
"We don't know if they're going to work or not but the potential for them to work is very high," he said.
Recently the province introduced changes to the Highway Traffic Act that included longer mandatory periods of use of the ignition interlock for repeat offenders.
For people with three drunk driving offences or more they will have to use the interlock for 10 years, with the option of applying for a special licence plate after five years of clean records.
That plate is meant to only be identifiable to law enforcement officials.
Murie said it's uncommon for a small province like P.E.I. to lead on road safety because the impact of changes is greater in bigger provinces.
"It's really nice to kind of see that leadership coming from here."
The special licence plate is being used differently in P.E.I. than in other places that use them as more of a shaming device, Murie said, although he added someone who is convicted three doesn't get the same rights as someone who doesn't drink and drive.
"The plate works for that type of person."
Murie said forcing people to use the interlock means they have to change their drinking patterns and it starts them on the process of potentially seeking treatment.
"It's not just a punishment. It's actually just a rehabilitation tool that almost gets them to re-examine their drinking patterns."