A coroner regrets that we do not report drunk drivers who take the wheel

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A coroner regrets that drunk drivers who take the wheel are not reported

Few citizens denounce people who are about to get behind the wheel or who drive a vehicle while impaired.

A coroner wonders why citizens who saw a drunk man take the steering wheel did not call the authorities before he was involved in an accident that claimed the lives of four members of the same family last year in Quebec City.

Coroner Donald Nicole's report dated November 28 concludes that several witnesses had seen Éric Légaré spending the entire afternoon drinking in a bar, then driving recklessly and erratically, in the minutes preceding the fatal collision. /p>

Only one person bothered to alert the police that day.

Evidence has shown that M Légaré was traveling at least 130 km/h in a 70 km/h zone when he crashed into another immobilized vehicle at a red light, on the Dufferin-Montmorency highway, in the borough of Beauport, September 2, 2021.

James Grant Fletcher, his daughter Shellie Fletcher and two young children, 10 and 14, Emma Lemieux and Jackson Fortin, were killed.

Two people in another vehicle were also killed. injured as a result of the accident.

Last April, Mr. Légaré was sentenced to 16 years in prison after pleading guilty to several charges, including driving with impaired driving causing death and dangerous driving causing death.

Analysis of blood samples taken after the collision showed that his blood alcohol level was double the legal limit and that Mr. Légaré also had traces of cannabis in his blood.

Daniel Fortin, Jackson's father, said he was surprised that only one person contacted the police regarding Mr. Légaré.

I knew the authorities weren't getting many calls, but I was surprised to see this information in the report, he said in an interview Wednesday. People don't want to get involved. I feel like our society today is very individualistic, and no one cares.

Coroner Nicole spoke with stakeholders working to address alcohol-impaired driving. He learned from these discussions that few citizens report people who are about to get behind the wheel or who drive a vehicle while impaired.

The coroner also learned that the severity of penalties and consequences had little deterrent effect for drivers who had or wanted to drink alcohol. He retains from his discussions that it is the fear of being checked by the police that constitutes the most effective deterrent to these speeders.

In addition, data from Transports Québec shows that motorists rarely respect the speed limit at the intersection where the accident occurred. According to the report, excessive speed accounted for 32% of all motorist deaths between 2015 and 2019 in Quebec, a situation that the coroner described as concerning.

Since the incident, Transports Québec has been conducting analyzes to improve road safety in the region, in addition to starting work to install photo radar. This is one of the possible solutions to ensure that the speed limit is respected, he wrote.

Coroner Nicole has also encouraged the authorities to increase the number of police checks throughout the year and to systematically screen for impaired faculties during these interventions.

For Daniel Fortin, the recommendations from the report are positive. He believes that increased police intervention is necessary to deter illegal driving.

In my 30 years of driving, I have only crossed only one roadblock, and they didn't even ask me for a breath sample to check my alcohol level. We don't have enough roadblocks, that's why people are not afraid of getting caught, said Mr. Fortin.

Fatal accident in Beauport: a coroner had recommended an interchange

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