Estevan police look to permanently seize vehicles from repeat drunk drivers
Police Chief Paul Ladoucer has had enough with drinking and driving in Estevan.
“In this community, it’s not uncommon to arrest an impaired driver each night,” said Ladoucer.
Ladoucer wants to use Canadian Criminal Code sections 490.1 through 490.9 to permanently seize vehicles driven by repeat impaired drivers, whether they own the vehicle or not.
This sort of vehicle seizure has happened before in Quebec in 2013, after a Supreme Court decision.
"We've tried roadside checks, we've tried public education, we've tried increased legislation, we've tried temporary vehicle seizures,” said Ladoucer.
“It gets (to) the point where, you know, at what point do you have a strong enough deterrent that is going to stop people from choosing to drink and drive?”
According to statistics released by SGI on Monday, there were nearly 1,200 impaired driving collisions in Saskatchewan in 2015, including 54 deaths.
In December 2016, there were also 353 drunk driving offences, 45 more than December 2015.
"We're the highest impaired driving province in the country--and not something, certainly, to be proud of, by any means,” said Ladoucer.
“When we look at the number of lives that impaired driving takes, it's one of the number one causes of death other than medical.”
Ladoucer turned to Twitter on Monday to pose the question: Is it time to seize vehicles?
While some in Estevan agree with the approach, others think differently.
"If they are not going to learn, maybe it needs to be a tougher law. So, I'm all for it,” said Patricia Abernethy.
"I think it's a little overreaction to a cause,” said Barry Firth. “I realize drinking and driving is an issue, but we're getting to the point now it's not a matter of impaired driving, it's just drinking and driving,"
Ladoucer has been in talks with the attorney general's office to implement the legislation. He hopes Estevan police will be using it as another tool to curb drinking and driving in the city in the near future.