Social media campaign is leading up to August long weekend in hopes of reducing impaired driving rates

Codiac RCMP Sgt. Andre Pepin said he hopes the personal messages being used in the social media campaign will resonate with people.

RCMP in the Maritimes are launching a social media campaign this week to tell personal stories about the tragic outcomes of impaired driving. 

Five Mounties from around the region will each share a story about an accident involving a drunk driver that has stayed with them throughout their careers.

Codiac RCMP Sgt. Andre Pepin, a 26-year veteran of the force, is taking part in the campaign.

Pepin has spent most of his career in the traffic division and he's both a breathalyzer technician and a collision analyst.

​Pepin's story happened when he was working in a rural area and had to tell a mother her son was killed after celebrating his 19th birthday.

"When I got to the house in the middle of the night, she knew right away something had happened," he said.

"I had to tell the mother that her son had died from a collision, after they knew he had been drinking and drinking and driving was the reason for the collision."

While he must remain professional in these cases, Pepin said it never gets easier to tell family members that someone has died.

"Not really," he said.

"To do my job, I can't think about all those things all the time because I wouldn't be able to do [the job] and as a collision analyst, same thing," he said.

The RCMP will run the campaign this week, leading up the August long weekend, to remind people that drinking and driving can end with dying in a crash or possibly killing someone else. 

The other stories come from officers in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. In each case, the officers have their photos taken with a message written on a whiteboard. 

For Pepin, his sign reads: "As a mom, she knew something was wrong." 

The other messages are just as blunt.

Const. Doug Baker's photo reads: "Her first words ... there is a body." 

Or Const. Vanessa DeMarchant's whiteboard had this note: "What will live with me ... is the scream."

'There's no excuse'

Pepin said too often when someone is killed in a drunk driving accident it is someone other than the impaired driver.

The RCMP in the Maritimes have launched a social media campaign to remind people not to drink and drive.

"There's no excuse for drinking and driving," he said, noting years of education campaigns by police and organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving. 

While some people may feel indestructible when drinking, Pepin said there's no way a person won't be affected if they kill somebody.

Even if there isn't an accident, Pepin said if a person is caught driving impaired it could still cost them their licence for a year, a $1,000 fine, higher insurance rates and a criminal record, which means they won't be able to enter the United States.

Pepin said he hopes sharing the tragic personal stories of officers will have a greater affect than mere statistics or finger wagging.

The veteran RCMP officer said he's not sure how the old methods of combating impaired driving have worked, so he believes this tactic is worth a shot.

"But even one impaired driver, is too much," he said.

Source: CBC News


Last updated on: 2015-08-18 | Link to this post