Tuesday September 02, 2014

Harsher impaired penalties coming


For Dwayne Hoeving, it was the knock on the door in the middle of the night that every parent dreads.

“When two police cars show up at your house at 3 a.m., you know something is wrong,” recalls Hoeving.

Dwayne’s daughter, Melissa, was driving home after a fun night playing board games with friends. She had plans to go shopping the next morning with the same friends. She was 21 years old, had just graduated from SIAST and had begun a new job.

Melissa never made it home that night. She was killed when her car was struck by an impaired driver who ran a red light going 137 km/h in a 50 km/h zone.

“Melissa was my oldest, my baby, my honey bee,” said Hoeving. “When a life is taken away unnecessarily, when it’s senseless like that, it’s even harder to take. It’s a life sentence for us.”

Like Melissa’s, far too many lives in Saskatchewan are cut short by the senseless decision to get behind the wheel while drunk or high. In 2012, there were more than 1,300 impaired driving collisions in Saskatchewan, killing 67 people and injuring more than 700 others. For that reason, impaired driving is the traffic safety spotlight for the entire month of May. Police across the province will be on the lookout for drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs. Distracted driving and excessive speed will also be a focus in May.

Effective June 27, 2014, traffic laws in the province are changing. A major change is harsher penalties for impaired drivers, including longer licence suspensions, vehicle seizures, and mandatory ignition interlock.

After Melissa’s death, Hoeving began teaching the Driving Without Impairment course and sharing his daughter’s story, so something positive could result from her death. The course is mandatory for first-time impaired driving offenders.

“If everybody tells one person not to drink and drive, that could be one life you’re saving,” said Hoeving. “If you have to ask yourself if you’ve had too many to drive, you’ve had too many.”

SGI reminds motorists to always plan a safe ride home. Choose a designated driver in advance, call a cab, call a friend or family member to pick you up, use a designated driving service, or take the bus. SGI even has a free SafeRide app to help you plan.

For more information on the upcoming traffic law changes, visit SGI’s website at www.sgi.sk.ca.



NOTE: To post a comment in the new commenting system you must have an account with at least one of the following services: Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, OpenID. You may then login using your account credentials for that service. If you do not already have an account you may register a new profile with Disqus by first clicking the "Post as" button and then the link: "Don't have one? Register a new profile".

The Yorkton This Week welcomes your opinions and comments. We do not allow personal attacks, offensive language or unsubstantiated allegations. We reserve the right to edit comments for length, style, legality and taste and reproduce them in print, electronic or otherwise. For further information, please contact the editor or publisher, or see our Terms and Conditions.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Quick Vote

Survey results are meant for general information only, and are not based on recognised statistical methods.



Lost your password?