This month’s nominee for the terminal dumbness award on the prairies might be 55 year old Kenneth Obey of Saskatchewan. He was recently sentenced to three and a half years in prison by a judge in Fort Qu’Appelle following his 19th conviction for drunk driving. I repeat – 19 convictions !
When he was pulled over by the Mounties in August of last year, his blood alcohol reading was two and a half times the legal limit, which makes you wonder how he was even conscious. Court was told that Obey knew he was not allowed behind the wheel because of his horrendous record, but he did so because the buddy he was riding with was in worse shape than he was.
If the dangers posed by people like this weren’t so obvious, the story might be considered funny, but there is absolutely nothing funny about driving while impaired. What also might be a joke if it weren’t so serious is the apparent lack of commitment to getting such people off the road.
You can bet your favourite bottle of firewater that Kenneth Obey will not serve anything like three and a half years behind bars. It would be remarkable if he served even one third of that time. So far, Mr. Obey has not killed anyone while driving drunk, but many others have.
Accidents involving alcohol take the lives of thousands of Canadians every year. Despite bold declarations by politicians everywhere that getting drunks off the road is a top priority, the numbers get worse every year, not better, especially on the prairies.
Dare I remind everyone that technology has given us what looks like an effective solution. In both Saskatchewan and Manitoba, repeat offenders are only allowed to drive, and their vehicle will only operate, if the driver blows a clean sample once behind the wheel.
Can someone please tell me why those devices should not be mandatory for all of us, like seatbelts ?
I’m Roger Currie