MPs recall impact of losing friends to drink driving

  • Scene of a collision: a motorcyle and personal effects litter a Pembroke road 

after a road crash (File photograph by Nicola Muirhead)

    Scene of a collision: a motorcyle and personal effects litter a Pembroke road after a road crash (File photograph by Nicola Muirhead)

Members of the House of Assembly told powerful stories about the impact that impaired driving has had on their lives and the wider community.

Lawrence Scott, the Government Whip, recalled: “I’ve been there in the hospital, on the ICU ward when a friend of mine has had to have the plug pulled on him.

“I’ve been there in the hospital to visit friends that have lost limbs, that have had their lives for ever impacted because they felt as though there was no consequence. Their focus was whether they were going to get caught by the police, not whether or not they got home safely, if they got home at all.

“So I can say I am directly impacted by drunk driving.”

Mr Scott went on to recall an occasion on a night out in Florida when he was the designated driver and a university friend left early, insisting he did not need the ride that was offered as he “wasn’t that drunk”.

He continued: “That classmate never made it home, he literally wrapped his BMW around a tree. And there was a while that I felt responsible because I was the designated driver.”

Mr Scott added: “We can’t save everybody, but yet with this Bill, adding a level of consequence, allowing the police to be able to help protect us from ourselves, we can save lives.”

Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, Shadow Minister of Home Affairs, said: “I’ve had situations in which I have actually had occasion to speak at the funeral of somebody who’s very, very dear to me, who was lost on the road.

“And one of the things that I do as a pastime is to write poetry and I can remember writing a poem as a tribute to this young man who had lost his life.”

She described him as a naturally talented tennis player and continued: “Every time I have the opportunity to think about that tragedy and others whom we have lost along the way, it doesn’t matter who, where or how the extent of alcohol has had an impact.

“It’s important that there could be a situation in which we are burying somebody far too soon.”

She said “the idea of doing whatever we can to help to prevent the incidents of loss of life and mangling of bodies and impairment ... we clearly want to make sure that we do all that we can.”

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Published Jul 7, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Jul 7, 2018 at 8:25 am)

MPs recall impact of losing friends to drink driving

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