Chad Olsen’s drink driving escapade in February 2010 led to the passing of a married couple with five young children in Alberta, Canada, yet his challenging experience has given him an opportunity to become an advocate of responsible driving and more appropriate outcomes for those who are over the limit at the wheel.
The night of the incident, Howe was returning home after drinking two beers and two double rum drinks at his friend’s house. It had been a couple of hours after consuming alcohol that he took to the wheel, and claimed that he was unaware that he was still over the limit. The Howes were heading back to their house when they were hit by Olsen’s car, which was travelling at 25km over the speed limit, on the Red Deer interchange. After the incident, police discovered that Olsen was nearly three times over the legal alcohol limit through sampling and he was incarcerated.
Olsen, however, has fuelled his desire to initiate change within Canada in order to ensure that accidents such as his are a thing of the past. “Every day I think about it, however I think about what I can do to make it better,” he says. Whilst he knows he wishes he might be able to travel back in time and change what happened, he is instead working hard to prevent others from doing the same.
Working alongside Olsen is Sandra Green, the mother of Krista Howe; a partnership that has been formed on a shared belief in changing both social and governmental attitudes towards drink driving. In reference to Olsen, Sandra claimed that “We are connected…,” and that although their “common thread” is the , her attitude has inspired her to cooperate with the man who took her daughter’s life in a bid to prevent other drivers following in Olsen’s path.
The two are aiming to adjust outcomes for drivers who are found with impairment, ensuring that people think twice before taking to the wheel under the influence of anything. Chad Olsen is using his experience to ensure a productive outcome may be achieved and accepts that he must take responsibility for his actions on that night in 2010.
He claimed that “I am aware of what I did and take full responsibility for the situation. I will always remember it.” However he aims to prevent others from doing the same.
Canadian provinces Alberta, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have a zero alcohol tolerance policy for new drivers, yet Olsen and Green are currently campaigning to have this extended to all drivers. They suggest that people need to think twice before driving home after a few drinks. If they realised the consequences they may face they may think twice about getting behind the wheel after drinking
Chad Olsen’s reform from being a drink driver to a belief in a zero alcohol tolerance shows it may be possible to change their ways and instead advocate a productive solution.
How might this story teach people to have a conscience and give back to help others?