Darren Keeler spoke about losing his son Colton to a drunk driver at the kickoff of the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) Red Ribbon campaign Thursday


Activists fighting impaired driving say they’re heartened by a recent reduction in the number of fatalities due to drunk motorists.

 But as he helped kicked off the 14th local red ribbon campaign Thursday, aimed at raising awareness of the scourge, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Calgary President Terry Hughes said Calgarians can do better.

“Is this the year when we have no injuries or fatalities, or no people having their licences taken away during the Christmas season?” said Hughes.

“All of us in Calgary can make that choice.”

In 2012, the last year such records are available, 78 people in Alberta died due to impaired driving compared to an annual average in the previous four years of 98 deaths.

The number of injuries was also down by about a fifth.

The province insists its 2013 law toughening the impaired driving threshold and penalties has reduced the number of deaths by more than 40%.

Hughes applauded that approach, saying Canada still has a long ways to go to match the compliance of European drivers.

“We have to instill more fear in people for sure, but we are getting better,” he said, adding it’s no time for complacency.

“We have to keep a hardline message that any convictions or events is too many.”

Calgarians’ increasing willingness to report drunk drivers is also proving effective, said MADD Calgary founder Denise Dubyk.

“Using 911 has brought about a huge reduction in fatalities and crashes, because people are taking responsibility,” she said.

In 2000, Dubyk’s son-in-law Darryl Ray, 32, was killed in an impaired driving collision in Calgary.

“When that reality comes through your door, it really hits home,” she said.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, emergency responders’ vehicles will fly the red ribbon and individual Calgarians are invited to do the same.

Source: Calgary Sun


Last updated on: 2014-11-17 | Link to this post