To help combat high rates of drunk driving, police in Estevan are looking into permanently seizing vehicles.
Police Chief Paul Ladouceur said it’s not uncommon to charge drivers with being impaired every second or third night in the city.
“You can keep doing the same thing over and over again, but if it’s not working, maybe it’s time to look at other avenues,” he said.
Ladouceur explained how the service only intends on targeting drivers in unique circumstances, such as repeat offenders, whether they’re the owner of the vehicle or just borrowing it.
He noted there’s a section of the criminal code in which vehicles involved in trafficking drugs can be permanently seized — and is questioning if that can be extended to alcohol.
“The goal here is to take the instrument away that is likely to cause serious injury or death,” the Ladouceur said.
“We do this in drug cases where the vehicle isn’t the actual instrument that’s causing the serious injury or death — it’s the drug.”
The chief pointed to a Supreme Court decision out of Quebec where a vehicle was successfully seized.
He said if a case does arise, they’d consult the Crown’s office and then make an application through the courts.
The police chief understands having this discussion might “poke the bear” a bit as he described, but it keeps the discussion alive on a serious issue that needs a solution — especially when Saskatchewan has the highest rates of drinking and driving in the country.
“How many times do you allow this to continue before you say, ‘OK, somebody’s going to get seriously injured or killed here?’” Ladouceur said.
The city of Estevan is located in southeast Saskatchewan around 16 kilometres north of the Canada–United States border.