REGINA – Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says the province needs to consider strengthening its laws to crack down on drunk driving.
The comments came in response to questions about a collision north of Saskatoon that claimed the lives of a family of four, which Wall called an “unspeakable tragedy and loss.” A 49-year-old woman is facing multiple charges of Impaired Operation of a Motor Vehicle Causing Death in the crash.
In the days following the crash, there have been calls for warning lights at the Highway 11 intersection where the family was killed, but Wall suggested the focus should be on curbing impaired driving instead.
“You could have the, quote unquote, safest intersection in the province, be the site of death and loss if someone is driving drunk,” Wall said.
The ministry of highways reviews the circumstances of all collisions where people have died; potential improvements to that stretch of road will be part of the review, the premier said.
There were 38 collisions at the Highway 11 intersection between 2006 and 2014, resulting in 30 injuries and three deaths, according to SGI.
Numbers in recent years have shown Saskatchewan has the highest rate of drunk drivers in the country at more than double the national average.
Wall was asked if Saskatchewan’s large rural population and high rate of impaired driving have led to a ‘built-in acceptance’ of the problem.
“I hope not, because we’re not the only rural province,” he said.
READ MORE: SGI making it easier to sue impaired drivers
Wall told reporters provincial governments cracking down on drunk driving through tougher enforcement and impounding vehicles haven’t seen enough progress, believing the laws need continued improvement.
“Not trying something or not looking at all of the options is just not an option when faced with potential tragedy and loss like we just saw a few days ago.”Follow @mikemckinnon
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