Elias pushes for drunk driver licence plates

Elias pushes for drunk-driver licence plates Darius Elias wants special licence plates for drunk drivers. In the legislature this week he asked the government to look into innovative programs in other jurisdictions to curb drinking and driving.

Darius Elias wants special licence plates for drunk drivers.

In the legislature this week he asked the government to look into innovative programs in other jurisdictions to curb drinking and driving.

One, called vehicle plate impoundment, involves visually distinct licence plates for people caught drinking and driving more than once, he said.

“Nobody wants to have a bright pink or yellow licence plate on their vehicle saying that they’ve been charged with impaired twice,” said Elias in an interview.

But in Minnesota, where the program has been in place since 1998 and has proven to be effective, that’s not exactly how it works.

There, if someone is caught driving under the influence for a second time, or if their blood-alcohol level is at least 0.20 per cent, the officer on the scene can remove their licence plates and have them destroyed.

The purpose of this is to discourage the violator from using the car while their driver’s licence is suspended. They can’t get regular plates back until they are again legally allowed to drive.

But the problem is that other people with valid driver’s licences might want to use the car in the meantime.

So the state allows people besides the violator, such as their family members, to apply for special plates that can be used while the violator is prohibited from driving.

Minnesota had a law allowing police to pull over people with the special plates to check if they are driving the car legally, but it was found unconstitutional in 2003. (Jacqueline Ronson)

Hospital’s dirty laundry under scrutiny

Laundry will be shipped from the new Watson Lake and Dawson hospitals to Whitehorse for cleaning.

The NDP Opposition questioned this decision in the legislature in March.

“Can the minister show that shipping of communities’ or hospitals’ dirty laundry to Whitehorse is the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly option?” asked MLA Jan Stick. “Can he further explain how this approach serves the interests of Dawson City or Watson Lake when the work could be done there instead?”

But bringing the laundry to Whitehorse is not only the cheapest option, it’s the only way it can be done, said Val Pike, spokesperson for the Yukon Hospital Corporation.

Hospital laundry must be done in expensive industrial machines in order to meet accreditation standards, she said.

The capacity already exists to do the community hospitals’ laundry in Whitehorse.

“There are very stringent standards that we must meet, so that’s why we can’t take them to the local hotel or any other place where there’s commercial-type machines.”

With only a handful of beds, the hospitals are quite small and will not produce a large quantity of laundry, she said.

Laundry will be shipped weekly to Whitehorse along with other scheduled deliveries, so the transportation cost is negligible, she said.

(Jacqueline Ronson)

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