Montreal family wants Quebec to toughen up on drunk driving on 5th anniversary of daughter’s death

Click to play video: 'West Island family fighting hard to help save lives'
West Island family fighting hard to help save lives
WATCH: Five years ago, Jessica Sarli-Rivera was killed in an impaired-driving crash. Sarli-Rivera's mother has made it her mission to raise awareness and seek changes to help stop injuries and death due to impaired driving. The family, along with a local MNA, has launched a petition to lobby the Quebec government to lower the legal blood alcohol limit to 0.05. Global's Felicia Parrillo reports – May 18, 2022

The ceremony in Montreal’s West Island began with a moment of silence for Jessica Sarli-Rivera. A woman who had a bright smile and a bright future that was taken too soon, say those who knew her.

“I’m surviving my daughter’s death,” said her mother Elizabeth Rivera in an interview Wednesday. “It’s the worst thing that could ever happen to a parent.”

In March 2017, 26-year-old Sarli-Rivera was killed in a car crash that involved speeding and alcohol.

READ MORE: Quebec imposes breathalyzers for life for repeat impaired driving offenders

Last year, a memorial bench in Jacynthe-Fyfe park in Montreal’s Roxboro neighbourhood was inaugurated to honour her and other victims of impaired driving.

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Now to mark the fifth anniversary of her death, her parents and West Island MNA Carlos Leitao want to honour her once again. This time they are doing so by trying to make a change.

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“We’re trying to explain to the government, it is time now — it’s really time to save lives,” said her father Antoine Bittar. “Enough is enough.”

READ MORE: Quebec man who killed family of 4 in drunk driving crash sentenced to 16 years

In collaboration with Leitao, they’ve launched a petition calling on the Quebec government to implement additional measures to prevent people from driving under the influence.

They say they want the province to lower the blood alcohol limit to 0.05 per cent.

“It is basically to give the police forces a bit more flexibility,” said Leitao. “For someone that is driving under the influence, but with less than 0.08.

“So between 0.05 and 0.08 — [it will] give the police more flexibility for them to impose a sanction, a ticket.”

In Canada, the maximum blood alcohol limit is 0.08 per cent. But Leitao says almost all other Canadian provinces have generally imposed sanctions if a driver’s blood alcohol limits exceed 0.05.

It’s only common sense for Quebec to finally follow suit, he added.

“It has been talked about for several years, for many years, and for some reason it doesn’t move forward,” he said. “So we think, I think, it is a reasonable demand.”

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Leitao says he will present the petition at Quebec’s National Assembly in June.

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