The front-page story in The Guardian Dec. 29 was a sad commentary for the families of loved ones killed by drunk drivers and the families of those who were killed while driving drunk.
It reads ‘Banner year for liquor sales', with ‘$95 million worth of booze sold, up $3.3 million from the previous year'. It was no surprise that on Dec. 31, The Guardian picked as its newsmaker of the year ‘The Impaired Driver'.
So many senseless deaths as a result of drinking and driving. There is no one demographic you can point to as the culprit. Alcohol affects the young, old, rich, poor no matter the education level. Alcohol affects everyone's intelligence when they overindulge.
Judges and police are bothered and no doubt overwhelmed by the number of drunk drivers on P.E.I. as well as by the number of repeat offenders. According to Statistics Canada, we have twice the national rate of convictions. You don't see that in our tourism brochures.
In 2011, of the 17 fatal collisions on P.E.I., seven involved alcohol. Of those seven, only one was charged. The other six were driver fatalities. There is no excuse for driving drunk with the proliferation of cellphones in the hands of the people. There is no excuse for not calling a friend, family member or a cab.
We are supposed to be an intelligent species, yet many continue to think they are OK to drive when drunk. Minister Robert Vessey says a special licence plate for repeat offenders could assist the police and the public in identifying drunk drivers. I don't see this as much of a deterrent, as P.E.I. has a plethora of repeat offenders driving without a licence or driving while suspended. Some even drive unregistered vehicles.
How many families will be without a loved one for Christmas 2013 because of an alcohol-related death? I have sympathy for the families of loved ones whose deaths were preventable if drunk drivers cared enough to call someone for a ride. I don't know how you get over knowing a phone call could have prevented you from killing someone or seriously injuring yourself or someone else.
Alcoholism may be a disease, as some think, but driving drunk is a crime.
Sandra A. MacDonald,