It will take a lot more than Bill 165 to make our roads safer

While Éduc’alcool supports, under certain conditions, the provisions in Bill 165 regarding impaired driving repeat offenders, we are much more concerned by what the proposed legislations does not contain. Éduc’alcool was at the National Assembly this morning to speak at the parliamentary committee on Bill 165 (An Act to amend the Highway Safety Code and other provisions). We decried the absence of several measures that we consider essential to improving road safety. Éduc’alcool finds it difficult to understand why these measures are not included in the proposed legislation, particularly considering that they have been proven scientifically and are supported by all political parties.

It is inconceivable that, after more than 15 years of representations and consensus on a number of essential provisions, including one to make “Service in Action” training mandatory for restaurant and bar serving staff, no action has yet been taken on this matter, and there seems little will to do so.

Éduc’alcool is therefore demanding the implementation of the following measures, immediately and without further equivocation:

  • Make it mandatory for all bar and restaurant serving staff to take the “Service in Action” training course developed by Éduc’alcool in partnership with the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ). Despite the proven effectiveness of the course, and the agreement of all parties in the National Assembly, no government has yet followed through on this absolute necessity.
  • Substantially increase the number of sobriety checkpoints, since three quarters of Quebecers have not encountered a single one in the last year.
  • Conduct impaired driving awareness campaigns all year long, not only during the holiday season.

Our road safety record has been improving steadily for 25 years, but it could still be so much better. We would have expected Bill 165 to include the three measures listed above, all of which have been shown to be effective. We are therefore urging the government to implement them without further delay.

Nuance is necessary

Aside from these three measures, which Éduc’alcool exhorts the government to implement quickly, we also believe certain conditions are necessary to ensure the success of some provisions contained in the bill. Éduc’alcool supports the provisions regarding impaired driving repeat offenders, but only insofar as our comments are taken into account concerning a) the financial situation of the persons convicted, since they rarely have the means to pay for an ignition interlock device over the long term, and b) what must be done to change people’s drinking habits to ensure lasting rehabilitation.

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