07/10/2013 11:50 EDT | Updated 07/10/2013 11:50 EDT

Drunk Driver Licence Plates In P.E.I. Could Be Mandatory


If Prince Edward Island's transportation minister has his way, drunk drivers will have to swallow an added degree of public shaming -- special licence plates to signal their past conviction.

In the midst of a major licensing overhaul, the province is taking a serious look at branding offenders with pink, red or blue plates, CBC News reports. Alternately, a special letter signifying their crime could be added to the plate.

"That's something we're still in discussions about right now," Robert Vessey told CBC News. "It's still something I'm thinking on. We've been talking to law enforcement about it."

Critics, however, say the move would hardly discourage the island's sky-high rate of impaired driving offences -- and is downright unconstitutional.

“The Canadian Civil Liberties Association does have concern about such a branding and public humiliation that is a bit reminiscent of 19th century punishment,” Nathalie Des Rosiers, a constitutional law professor at the University of Ottawa, told the National Post.

Vessey, however, sees the move as a public warning on wheels.

“It’s just another thing if you’re planning on having a few drinks, if you’re going to jump behind your wheel, it’s just something to think about,” he told the Globe and Mail.

P.E.I. wouldn't be the first to brand people convicted of drunk driving. In the U.S., Ohio and Minnesota require offenders to add a telltale detail to their plates -- so-called 'restricted plates' add jarring yellow to the otherwise mellow motifs of a barn and biplane.

In the Yukon, according to the Whitehorse Daily Star, legislators are also exploring the possibility of forcing offenders to take the drive of shame with special plates.

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