News / Toronto

Online posts from alleged drunk driver charged with Toronto cyclist's death prompt outrage

Update, Jan 5 2017: Darya Selinevich will serve four and a half years in jail after being sentenced in a Toronto court.

A post on Facebook allegedly made by a 22-year-old woman who’s charged with impaired driving causing death makes a joke out of a classic drunk driving campaign.

The dated police R.I.D.E. campaign asks people not to drink and drive, and gives them the option of going home in a police car, an ambulance, a bus or a cab. The joke on Facebook is: “How about option 5, my car?”

The Instagram account, @dashe4ka93, identified online and in the media as belonging to the 22-year-old woman, seems to glorify drinking and driving with numerous photos of booze and fast cars, a bottle of wine in a car and a speedometer marking 202.5 km/h.

The posts have caused outrage online since Darya Selinevich was charged with seven offences, for allegedly fatally hitting a 44-year-old cyclist at Finch and Yonge early Thursday morning and fleeing the scene.

The social media accounts have since been closed to the public.

The posts are extreme, but they show one of the problems with how traditional anti-drunk driving campaigns are being taken by some young drivers, said Sarah Gallsworthy co-ordinator of the P.A.R.T.Y. program, or Prevent Alcohol and Risk-related Trauma in Youth.

“The numbers [of drunk driving incidents] are dropping so we know the campaigns are working,” said Gallsworthy.

“But what’s not working is the old antiquated way of saying ‘no,’” she explained. “If you tell young people not to, saying ‘You can’t drink and drive’ it sort of encourages them to get behind a wheel impaired.”

Instead of just telling young people “no, you can’t drink and drive,” it’s better to tell them they do have a positive choice: but make it clear that if they choose to drive drunk the consequences can be catastrophic, she said.

Thankfully, the extreme attitude in these pictures is rare, she said.

“This is something I’ve seen maybe once in my time working in trauma prevention,” Gallsworthy said.

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