MADD Canada

MADD Canada

February 10, 2010 09:46 ET

Preventing chronic re-offenders should be a priority: MADD Canada

Incarceration necessary for repeat drinking drivers, but emphasis should also be placed on early intervention to prevent people from becoming chronic re-offenders in the first place.

Attention: News Editor OAKVILLE/ONTARIO/NEWS RELEASE--(Marketwire - Feb. 10, 2010) - Recent cases involving individuals who continue to drive impaired despite multiple previous convictions have left many Canadians asking what can be done to curb this dangerous behaviour. MADD Canada recommends a two-track approach: early identification and intervention to stop those drivers who are on their way to becoming chronic, repeat offenders; and minimum sentencing for those drivers who continue to re-offend.

"Long-term incarceration may be the only alternative for people who continue to drive impaired, despite having many previous convictions and many opportunities to adjust their behavior," said MADD Canada National President Margaret Miller. "But often, this only occurs after someone has been injured or killed. MADD Canada would like to see earlier identification of those drivers who have the potential to become chronic re-offenders, and intervention measures that will help them change their dangerous behavior."

"I think everyone would agree that addressing this problem before the driver kills or injures someone in an alcohol-related crash is a safer and more effective approach than jailing them after a tragedy has occurred," Mrs. Miller said.

MADD Canada recommends:

* Early intervention and prevention to help people change their behaviour before they become chronic and repeat offenders. In addition to the .05% BAC administrative vehicle and licence sanctions (suspensions, interlocks, vehicle impoundment/forfeiture), drivers with two or more instances at .05% or over should be required to participate in an alcohol/drug assessment, followed by education, treatment and rehabilitative programs as deemed necessary. Such programs must be successfully completed before the driver's licence can be re-instated.

* Minimum sentencing for offenders with 4 or more Criminal Code convictions. At a 4th Criminal Code conviction within 10 years, the driver should receive a minimum sentence of two years less a day. On a 5th conviction within 10 years, the driver should receive a minimum sentence of 5 years less a day. The minimum sentence should be accompanied by a life-time driving ban with an option for licence reinstatement after a specified period (5 years for a 4th conviction, and 10 years for a 5th conviction), provided the driver has no violations for driving while prohibited/suspended. Drivers who successfully regain their licence should be required to have an alcohol ignition interlock device on their vehicle(s) for life.

Having the preventive measures at the .05% level is crucial, Ms. Miller noted. "We know from criminal charge and conviction data that a person can drive impaired once a week for three years before being charged, and once a week for six years before being convicted. If we wait until they've received Criminal Code convictions, it is likely too late to make any meaningful changes in their behaviour."

Since most provinces and territories have .05% administrative programs, including remedial measures such as assessments and education, the framework for early intervention with potentially chronic drinking drivers is already in place.

Finally, MADD Canada strongly encourages Crown prosecutors to pursue the legal classifications of long-term offender or dangerous offender when an impaired driver meets the legal criteria. Occasionally, there are people who are convicted of impaired driving causing death or impaired driving causing bodily harm who meet the criteria for classification as a dangerous offender. MADD Canada believes the Crown should pursue dangerous offender status for anyone who has a chronic record of impaired driving, who shows no regard for safety and human life, and who causes a death or serious bodily injury through their drinking and driving.

About MADD Canada
MADD Canada (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) is a national, charitable organization that is committed to stopping impaired driving and supporting the victims of this violent crime. With volunteer-driven groups in more than 100 communities across Canada, MADD Canada aims to offer support services to victims, heighten awareness of the dangers of impaired driving and save lives and prevent injuries on our roads.
/For further information: See MADD Canada’s paper “Addressing the Problem of Chronic and Repeat Offenders” at or contact:
Margaret Miller, National President, MADD Canada at 902-758-5328.
Andrew Murie, Chief Executive Officer, MADD Canada at 1-800-665-6233, ext. 224.


Contact Information

  • Margaret Miller, National President, MADD Canada
    Primary Phone: 902-758-5328